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Annual Technology Baseline and Standard Scenarios

NREL annually documents a realistic and timely set of input assumptions (e.g., technology cost, fuel costs), and a diverse set of potential futures (Standard Scenarios) to support and inform electric sector analysis in the United States. The products of this work, including assessments of current and projected technology cost and performance for both renewable and conventional electricity generation technologies, as well as market projections of more than a dozen scenarios produced with NREL's Regional Energy Deployment Systems (ReEDS) model, are applied consistently in NREL's analyses throughout the following year. This annual process is supported by the Office of Strategic Programs of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The products described below leverage and synthesize the results of significant background work on individual technologies/market segments funded by specific EERE technology offices.

Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) Spreadsheet – 2016 Final

This product includes detailed cost and performance data (both current and projected) for renewable and conventional technologies and is presented in MS Excel.

ATB Summary Presentation – 2016 Final

This tandem PowerPoint summary augments the data in the ATB spreadsheet with a description and discussion of each of the technologies. The objective of this presentation is to describe and provide context for the information contained in the spreadsheet.

2016 Standard Scenarios Annual Report: A U.S. Electric Sector Outlook

This report discusses an outlook of the U.S. electricity sector based on a suite of standard scenarios with their associated assumptions, including technology cost and performance assumptions from the ATB, and the resulting model outputs for each scenario. Scenario results from the Standard Scenarios are accessible via the Standard Scenarios Results Viewer.

Contact: Wesley Cole

Screen capture of the Scenario Results Viewer.

The 2016 Standard Scenario results are presented at the state level in the interactive Standard Scenarios Results Viewer. (Click image to go to the Scenario Results Viewer)

2016 ATB Cost and Performance Summary

The table and figures below summarize current (2015) and projected (2030, 2050) technology cost and performance from the 2016 ATB Spreadsheet by generation technology and year, including capacity factor (CF) range, CAPEX (capital expenditure) range, fuel cost, O&M (operations and maintenance) cost (fixed and variable), and calculated levelized cost of energy (LCOE) range. While LCOE is included as a simple or representative summary metric, it is not the focus of the ATB work. Low, Mid, and High designations appearing in the table and figures generally refer a range of perspectives based on values reported in public literature: low – lowest reported value, mid – median value, high – no change from current year value. The following technology abbreviations are shown: PC – Pulverized Coal; IGCC – Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle; CCS – Carbon Capture and Storage; CT – Combustion Turbine; CC – Combined Cycle; CSP – Concentrating Solar Power; TES – Thermal Energy Storage.


2016 ATB cost and performance summary by technology for the year specified. Monetary values are in 2014$. Hydropower is classified as non-dispatchable because most new hydropower generation would come from run-of-river or stream-reach resources. Note that while the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is provided as a summary metric, it is not the focus of this work. (Click to enlarge into a new window)

2016 ATB capital expenditure (CAPEX) range by technology for the given year. Values are in 2014$. (Click to enlarge into a new window)

2016 ATB capacity factors range by technology type. Values are in 2014$. (Click to enlarge into a new window)

2016 ATB fuel price by technology. High, Mid, and Low refer to prices from specific projections in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2016. Note: Applies only to generation technologies that rely on a fuel source. Values are in 2014$. (Click to enlarge into a new window)

2016 ATB LCOE ranges by technology. Values are in 2014$. Note that while the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is provided as a simple or representative summary metric, it is not the focus of this work. (Click to enlarge into a new window)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Answers to questions raised during the product review period in spring 2015.
  • How do I find the legacy versions of the ATB and Standard Scenarios Report?