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Wind capacity factor

Capacity factor [1]
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Installed power MW 13.56 17.56 42.63 45.51 49.42 60.29 60.29
Electricity production GWh 18.52 22.62 36.58 70.13 88.07 89.52 100.88
Capacity factor - 0.1559 0.1470 0.0980 0.1759 0.2034 0.1695 0.1910
Capacity factora - 0.1681 0.1660 0.1388 0.1817 0.2118 0.1863 0.1910

The installed power is significantly increased every year as it can be seen in the previous table. When the installed capacity is considerable increased, the capacity factor is artificially reduced. This happens due to the fact that the new capacity is assumed to be installed at the beginning of the year, but it is usually not the case. Capacity factora is calculated assuming a constant installation rate for the power installed during each year. Besides being more realistic, this last approach can also penalize the capacity factor if the new capacity is installed during the last period of the year.

For example, in 2013 four wind turbines in the Juvent wind farm were replaced by four turbines with bigger capacity. The old turbines were disconnected from the grid on 18.8.2013, while the installation of the new turbines finished on 01/11/2013 (no information has been found regarding the date of connection to the grid). This event reduced the capacity factor since 5.5MW (aprox.) stop producing electricity in August, and the new 8MW (4 X 2MW turbines) only produced electricity in december [2]. Nontheless, the new installed capacity is considered in the calculation of the capacity factor for 2013.

Capacity factor
2011 2035 2050
0.19 0.23 0.24

The previous table contains the capacity factors that have been introduced in the model. The actual capacity factor is approximately 0.19 in Switzerland. The IEA (International Energy Agency) states that “turbine design advancement in ten years allows for significant increase in capacity factors” [3]. The new low wind speed turbines are expected to have a capacity factor of 0.33 (aprox.) for an average annual wind speed of 5.5 m/s at 50m height (see the graph below). In Switzerland, it does exist several possible locations whose average annual wind speed reaches the 5.5 m/s [4]. Nonetheless, a conservative aproach has been chosen, thus the values introduced in the calculator are 0.23 and 0.24, for 2035 and 2050 respectively.

© OECD/IEA 2013 Technology Roadmap, Wind energy, IEA Publishing.  Licence:

Nuclear electricity price

The French “Court des comptes” published in May 2014 [5] a study about the evolution of the levelized cost of electricity for the French nuclear power plants. Next table summarizes the results for 2010 and 2013.

In M€ (real value) 2010 2013 2013/2010
Operation expenses 9'017 10'003 +10,9 %
Investment on the existing plants 1'747 3'804 +117,7 %
Funds for the waste and depleted fuel disposal 1'133 1'301 +14,8 %
Fund for plant decommissioning 461 520 + 12,8 %
Economic rent 7'880 8'501 + 7,9 %
Total 20'238 24'129 + 19,2 %
Production (TWh) 407,9 403,7 - 1 %
Cost (€/MWh) 49,6 59,8 + 20,6 %

The installed power in France is 63.1GW. If we consider an interest rate of 4.8% and a lifetime of 40 years, the investment cost for the French nuclear power plants is 2'376 €/kW. To this investment cost is necessary to add the dismantling cost. In Switzerland the post-operation and decommissioning cost are 1.7 and 3.4 billions CHF, respectively [6]. Thus, the final value (investment and dismantling) is 4'864 CHF/kW.

The cost for the nuclear waste management and disposal in Switzerland is estimated to be 17.4 billions CHF. Taking into account the installed power in Switzerland (3.22GW), a lifetime of 50 years and a capacity factor of 0.85, the cost per unit of electricity produced is 14.51 CHF/MWhe [6]. Taking into consideration this value, the fuel cost per unit of produced electricity is revised upwards since some of the data points in [13] are discarded, because their values are even lower than the waste disposal cost. The fuel cost is calculated as the average value of several sources.

The O&M cost is derived from the values of the French “Court des comptes” [5] for the year 2013, and it takes into account the maintenance investment on the existing plants, and the part of the operation expenses (employees, insurances, etc) that is not related to the fuel. The obtained value is 171 €/kW.

All the above mentioned values and assumptions are for the 2011 cost.

The investment cost for 2035 and 2050 has also been redefined, and it is based on the available information for the new EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) in Flamanville [11] plus the Swiss decommissioning cost for nuclear power plants. The expected total investment cost of the reactor is 10.5 billions EUROS for 1.65 GW of electrical power. Its lifetime is expected to be 60 years. This is used to define the investment cost at level 3 of the “Investment cost” slider. For level 1 and 2, it has been assumed that the technology may experience a 20% and 10% reduction, respectively, on its investment cost.

The fuel cost for 2035 and 2050 has not been modified in this update. The O&M cost has been slightly increased as the O&M cost derived from the French “Court des comptes” has been included, which is higher than the values given by the other sources.

The next tables summarizes all the values.

Specific investment [CHF2010/kWe]
2011 2035 2050
MIN 4'864 8'294 8'294
MID 9'331 9'331
MAX 10'368 10'368
O&M cost [CHF2010/kWe]
2011 2035 2050
237 [5] 135 [5][12][13]135 [5][12][13]
Lifetime [years]2011 50
2035 60 [15]
2050 60 [13][14]
Fuel cost [13] [CHF2010/MWhe]
2011 2035 2050
MIN 18.65 14.68 14.68
MID 16.18 16.18
MAX 17.45 17.45

The applied currency exchange rates are 1.609 CHF/GBP, 1.380 CHF/EUR and 1.077 CHF/USD.


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en/updates.txt · Last modified: 2019/10/22 09:17 (external edit)