Construction costs alone do not tell the full story of the relative economics of each electricity generation technology. For fuel-consuming electricity generation technologies, fuel costs often make up a substantial portion of the plant’s total costs. For nonfuel-consuming technologies such as wind and solar plants, the initial construction cost constitutes most of the plant’s total costs. In addition, federal, state, and local programs may provide incentives to lower the cost of certain technologies. Finally, different types of plants often run at different utilization rates, which affects the relative economics of generation technologies. As costs, market conditions, and government policies have drastically changed over the years, so has the pattern of capacity additions.
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