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Marine energy cost estimation

Our cost estimation spreadsheet allows you to conduct a fair, comparative assessment of different marine energy devices.

Publication date May 2006
Information was correct at the time of publication


This methodology was developed during the Marine Energy Challenge and has been used in many technology assessments since by The Carbon Trust and other innovation bodies.

Download the MEC cost estimation methodology report (PDF)

Download the MEC cost estimation methodology spreadsheet (.xls)

What the methodology does

The methodology and spreadsheet essentially:

  • Define a list of cost and performance parameters that are needed to make a reasonable cost of energy estimate; and
  • Combine these parameters in a discounted cash flow calculation, which gives costs of energy at certain pre-determined project rates of return.

It is possible to edit the cost and performance parameters, but our experience is that the parameters listed are appropriate to most marine energy devices. You may choose the project rates of return, but by default, 8% and 15% rates are included.

Use of the methodology

It should be noted that the methodology and spreadsheet represent a simple approach to cost of energy estimation, which is sufficient to make an initial assessment of device technologies, particularly on a comparative basis. More sophisticated models are possible, and might include, for example, more detailed break-downs of cost items, or financing/valuation structures other than the simple project rates of return. Such sophistications may, for instance, be appropriate when making a commercial assessment of a device technology, to assess the case for investment in a technology or demonstration project.


Please note that the spreadsheet requires a 32 bit version of Excel.  You will need to enable macros on the spreadsheet, and enable cookies to allow the dcf analysis to function.  

If you have feedback on the tool please email comments to


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