It may look like one machine, but the average wind turbine is made up of 9,000 different components. Each of these needs to be manufactured, transported and put together, and a blip or delay at any one stage can affect the whole process.
The supply chain is crucial to the wind energy industry, with 75% of the total cost of energy for a wind turbine is related to upfront expenses such as the cost of the turbine, foundation, electrical equipment and grid connection.
Many of the materials used in wind turbines – such as stainless steel, aluminum, glass and carbon fibres — are also required in other industries, making a smoothly operating wind power supply chain all that more important.
The latest issue of Wind Directions looks into the workings of the wind energy supply chain and how it is likely to evolve in an expanding global industry.