This article is part 2 of 5 in our current series on “Implementing Rewiring the nation. How do we future proof our networks?"
Looks at the pressure placed on supply chains globally and considers the benefits of standardisation and co-operation on an international basis.
The articles together seek to provide an overview of current thinking regarding the many challenges associated with the energy transition to a zero-carbon power system. It has been developed by reviewing a number of CIGRE Electra strategic articles that have been produced over the last twelve months together with a limited review of other associated articles. From this, five challenging areas have been identified as needing global attention.
Many countries around the world are rapidly increasing the size and number of projects associated with the energy transition to a zero-carbon power system. This is placing significant pressure on supply chains and highlighting the lack of manufacturing, design and construction capacity in a number of areas. Some countries are taking action to build capacity within the country as well establishing long term partnerships with foreign suppliers. It is clear that there needs to be a global approach to this problem. This will help ensure that all areas across the world receive attention as well as provide the opportunity to develop supply efficiencies and reduce lead times.
There is or will be a high demand for materials, renewable technologies, undersea cables (AC and DC), etc as well as skilled human resources to engineer and implement a large volume of projects.
Offshore wind is a particular challenge with the size of windfarms increasing together with their distance from shore. This is resulting in a high demand for materials as well as specialist resources for the offshore work. It is clear that manufacturers of infrastructure such as wind turbines, HVDC cable etc will struggle to meet the demand.
There will be demand for a number of new HV transmission lines in many parts of the world. This will be a particular challenge as lead times for these projects can be ten years or more.
Standardisation is needed to help make suppliers more efficient. This will need to be driven by organisations such as CIGRE and the IEC and global cooperation will be essential. At the same time, it is important not to stifle innovation and there must be mechanisms to allow new solutions to be introduced.
There will be strong competition for limited human and physical resources. It is estimated that the global demand (outside of China) for blue and white collar workers will more than quadruple by 2030.
Current regulatory approaches are aimed at reducing monopolistic behaviour, driving cost efficiencies and ensuring quality standards are met. New policies will be needed to allow a greater level of collaboration between suppliers and customers. The policies should aim to clarify the level and manner of collaboration that is allowed, particularly if this collaboration would reduce the level of competition.
Examples of actions underway
Other possible actions