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U.S. O&M costs of power plants by technology 2019

The costs to run and maintain a power plant in the United States varies greatly by the type of power plant being operated. In 2019, an advanced nuclear power plant had fixed costs that totaled about 121.13 U.S. dollars per kilowatt per year, while its variable costs reached 2.36 U.S. dollars per megawatt hour. In comparison, a combined cycle single shaft combination cycle plant had about 14.04 U.S. dollars per kilowatt per year in fixed costs, and 2.54 U.S. dollars per megawatt hour in variable costs. These technologies used to fuel the power plant will vary based on factors like project size, location, and access to infrastructure (like grid interconnection, fuel supply, and transportation).

Power plant costs explained

Fixed costs of power plants generally include capital and land costs, which include labor as well as costs associated with obtaining approvals and permits. Variable operating costs depend on the amount of energy produced by the plant. For fossil fuel plants, fuel costs make up most of the rest of the operating costs. In contrast, renewables tend to have no fuel costs, with the exception of biomass, and nuclear power plants also tend to have very low fuel costs. Labor and maintenance costs tend to make up the bulk of operational costs for these plants.

Power plant operation and maintenance costs in the U.S. in 2019, by technology*

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* 2019 U.S. dollars.
** Cost in terms of net AC power available to grid for installed capacity.
*** Cost and performance characteristics are site-specific, so costs represent least expensive plant that can be built in the Northwest Power Pool region, where most proposed sites are located.
**** USC: Ultra-supercritical coal.

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Statistics on "Energy prices in the United States"

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