DOE Report: Overcoming U.S. Wind Supply Chain Challenges

Are we ready to meet the DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 goal?
July, 2010

Overcoming U.S. Wind Supply Chain Challenges builds upon the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2008 landmark wind energy study: 20% Wind Energy by 2030. The 20% by 2030 study concluded that providing 20% of the nations’s electricity from wind was technologically feasible, environmentally beneficial and cost effective, but not without challenges. PowerAdvocate examined the wind turbine supply chain’s ability to support the DOE roadmap of installing 305GW of wind power by 2030.

This report identifies historical supply chain bottlenecks around manufactured components and transportation services and then quantifies current supply of wind power equipment, transportation and labor. The market supply of wind power equipment, transportation and labor is evaluated based on the ability meet the DOE’s wind installation targets, as well as examined in light of meeting the real capacity growth seen in the market. This report also examines the ability of the construction labor market to meet wind power installation goals, while examining the cost sensitivity of transmission line build-out to the commodity and labor market.

Because U.S. wind installation investments have exceeded the DOE roadmap this report quantifies the “accelerated growth” premium the industry and electricity market has incurred. The rapid growth of wind installations has led to supply chain constraints, which increase the cost of the wind facilities; therefore this report suggests ways to support the supply chain in an effort to reduce the overall cost of meeting the 20% scenario and meeting the accelerated growth of the market.

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