A practical method for evaluating the real cost of electrical energy

Domenico Coiante, Luciano Barra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely accepted that electric energy production from fossil fuels has a significant environmental impact. This impact can be estimated if the energy cost is calculated in terms of real economy. Many experts have tried to quantify the real cost by evaluating the damages occasioned to mankind and the environment during the entire fuel cycle. In this work, we propose a practical alternative method based on the philosophy of avoiding the damage rather than paying for it. The method assumes as a reference a new type of power plant equipped with all devices suitable to reduce the chemical pollutants down to a desired environmental standard. The result is an increasing factor which should be accounted for when calculating the present energy cost. The method has been applied to roughly estimate the mentioned increasing factor in a grid of central power stations typical of industrialized countries with the prevalent dependence on fossil fuels. Under the hypothesis of reducing the pollutant emissions (including carbon dioxide) by a factor of 10 and accounting for social costs related to the fuel cycle and the waste disposal, a factor larger than 3 between real and internal costs was found. Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159 - 168
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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