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A new Web application under development from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will provide technology cost and performance estimates that can be used to benchmark company costs, model energy scenarios and inform research and development decisions.

According to NREL, the Transparent Cost Database (TCDB) app will provide cost comparisons to make it much easier to view the range of estimates for what energy technologies - such as utility-scale wind farms, rooftop solar installations, biofuel production plants, or electric vehicles - might cost today or in the future.

NREL says the TCDB app was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. It provides “a first-cut estimate of current and projected costs and performance characteristics for vehicles, biofuels and electricity generation,” with a current focus on renewables, according to Austin Brown, NREL analyst.

The TCDB displays DOE estimates and targets in a place that is easy to find and update, Brown adds. Until now, he says the estimates typically have been found in program-planning or budget documents that, although public, are difficult to find and collect.

The TCDB provides access to published historical and projected cost estimates for electricity generation, biofuels and vehicle technologies. The cost data is sourced from published studies and the DOE's internal planning documents.

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