A web application collects cost and performance estimates for electric generation, advanced vehicles, and renewable fuel technologies and makes them available for utilities, policy makers, consumers, and academics. The Transparent Cost Database (TCD) application (an app) provides cost and performance estimates that can be used to benchmark company costs, model energy scenarios, and inform research and development decisions.
The TCD provides cost comparisons to make it easier to view the range of estimates for what energy technologies such as a utility-scale wind farm, rooftop solar installation, biofuel production plant, or electric vehicle might cost today or in the future. The database will help companies and investors make informed decisions supporting the commercialization and deployment of clean energy, says NREL.
TCD was developed by the U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) through a grant from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The database provides “a first-cut estimate of current and projected costs and performance characteristics for vehicles, biofuels, and electricity generation,” with a current focus on renewables,” says NREL analyst Austin Brown.
TCD displays DOE estimates and targets in a place easy to find and update, says Brown. Until now, those estimates and targets typically have been found in program-planning or budget documents that, while public, are difficult to find and collect. In support of the Administration’s goals to increase data transparency, DOE is collecting this planning data in one public resource for the first time.
The TCD provides access to published historical and projected cost estimates for electricity generation, biofuels, and vehicle technologies. The cost data are sourced from published studies and the Department of Energy’s internal planning documents. DOE says it works closely with private companies to accurately estimate technology costs. This information is to help DOE plan research and development.
The new database will soon let experts contribute reliable new information to continually expand and validate the cost information available to the public. The data are arranged so users can see a range of cost and performance numbers as well as reports on potential improvements. All data will be viewable and downloadable from DOE’s Open Energy Information platform, OpenEI.org, an online clearinghouse for information about energy.
The database contains thousands of estimates from more than 100 reports. The web interface lets users look at current estimates and future projections, and filter data of interest. The exact report referenced in each data point is just a few mouse clicks away.
TCD is integrated into OpenEI and available at OpenEI.org. Although the project is still under development, users are welcome to submit suggestions for additional capability to email@example.com.
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