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Comprehensive assessment of flexibility of the wind power industry chain

Li, Cun-Bin, Chen, Hong-Yi, Zhu, Jiang, Zuo, Jian, Zillante, George, Zhao, Zhen-Yu
Renewable energy 2015 v.74 pp. 18-26
alternative energy industry, case studies, clean energy, decision making, energy, issues and policy, models, supply chain, sustainable development, wind power, China
A number of energy development plans have been released in China in recent decades. These plans were aimed at promoting the optimization of the Chinese energy industry structure and achieving emission reduction targets by encouraging the development of clean energies such as wind energy. The sustainable development of the clean energy industry chain faces a number of challenges, one of which is the lack of flexibility. This has led to some serious issues associated with clean power industries such as wind power and it is timely to investigate the flexibility of the wind power industry chain to ensure its sustainable development. A hybrid research methodology has been employed in this study to identify most critical factors that affect the flexibility level of the wind power industry chain. These factors are related to seven types of flexibility, i.e. structural flexibility, production flexibility, operational flexibility, technological flexibility, development flexibility, construction flexibility, and policy flexibility. A flexibility assessment index system classified according to upstream, midstream and downstream industry supply chain has been established for the wind power industry chain and a Matter-element extension model was adopted to determine the level of flexibility. The flexibility deviation of the main factors that affect the flexibility of wind power was calculated using sensitivity analysis. The case study suggested that it is feasible to utilize this novel method to evaluate the flexibility of the wind power industry chain. The outcomes of the flexibility analysis provide useful information to assist the decision making process of both government and industry.