2021 can be the year of the green supply chain
Wind power contributes a significant part of the energy mix today and is forecast to dramatically rise over the coming years
The rising demand on parts supply to support a growing and aging fleet is considerable, requiring innovative supply chain strategies which reduce cost and environmental impact.
Meanwhile timescales to meet carbon reduction commitments become ever shorter with the focus by companies and governments to reach net-zero status even more intense. Focus on increasing renewable energy capacity is a large part of the carbon neutral journey, but the way in which the energy is produced is only part of the picture.
Greening the aftermarket with sustainable solutions throughout supply chains will be key to unlocking a fully sustainable energy supply, incorporate adjacent industries, and help communities build green local economies around generation.
Refurbishment will lead to a greener industry
Wind turbine operators run almost entirely on ‘buy new’ philosophies, previously understandable due to a small, experimental, refurbishment market within a young industry. However, as the wind industry matures there has been noticeable growth in the refurbishment market, with more companies offering refurbished parts that work to the same operational performance as new.
With a maturing industry and aging wind turbines, we are experiencing rising parts demand, increased parts obsolescence, greater economies of scale and more third-party service providers. Such an environment actively encourages in-country refurbishment, locally placed to provide solutions quickly and without the costs and delays of overseas transport.
Parts refurbishment is entirely consistent with a sustainable philosophy with many direct environmental benefits relating to carbon emissions associated with raw materials and manufacturing, transportation if performed more locally and ultimately, landfill avoidance.
As refurbishment capabilities, knowledge, and uptake increases, so too will the positive impact to greening our industry. OEMs, customers, and service providers will move from acceptance to expectance; they will demand sustainable solutions where new parts may have previously been applied.
We anticipate refurbished parts being used earlier in the operational life of turbines and a move by OEMs to design turbines with circular economy criteria for all parts, not just higher cost main components.