Cost of long-distance energy transmission by different carriers

iScience. 2021 Nov 22;24(12):103495. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103495. eCollection 2021 Dec 17.


This paper compares the relative cost of long-distance, large-scale energy transmission by electricity, gaseous, and liquid carriers (e-fuels). The results indicate that the cost of electrical transmission per delivered MWh can be up to eight times higher than for hydrogen pipelines, about eleven times higher than for natural gas pipelines, and twenty to fifty times higher than for liquid fuels pipelines. These differences generally hold for shorter distances as well. The higher cost of electrical transmission is primarily because of lower carrying capacity (MW per line) of electrical transmission lines compared to the energy carrying capacity of the pipelines for gaseous and liquid fuels. The differences in the cost of transmission are important but often unrecognized and should be considered as a significant cost component in the analysis of various renewable energy production, distribution, and utilization scenarios.

Keywords: Energy flexibility; Energy resources; Energy systems; Energy transportation.