Coal, Combined Cycle

S&P Weighs IGCC Economics

Issue 8 and Volume 110.

A commentary by Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Swami Venkataraman looks at the relative economics of electricity generated by pulverized coal (PC), integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants.

The comparisons assumed a 500 MW plant, a market price for coal of $1.70/mmBtu, an 85 percent capacity factor for all technologies, a 10 percent average cost of capital and a 30-year capital cost recovery.

S&P said the most significant variable influencing the cost difference between PC and IGCC is the capital cost, which it said has also been the focus of the GE/Bechtel and ConocoPhillips/Fluor/Siemens consortia. The rating agency said noneconomic factors such as global warming and imported energy could provide the impetus to build the first few IGCC units. – David Wagman

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