Submitted Successfully!
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 + 1666 word(s) 1666 2021-02-12 07:07:45 |
2 Format correct Meta information modification 1666 2021-02-16 16:36:36 | |
3 Format correct Meta information modification 1666 2021-02-16 16:36:56 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Jelti, F. Renewable Energy Supply Chain. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 28 February 2024).
Jelti F. Renewable Energy Supply Chain. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed February 28, 2024.
Jelti, Faissal. "Renewable Energy Supply Chain" Encyclopedia, (accessed February 28, 2024).
Jelti, F. (2021, February 16). Renewable Energy Supply Chain. In Encyclopedia.
Jelti, Faissal. "Renewable Energy Supply Chain." Encyclopedia. Web. 16 February, 2021.
Renewable Energy Supply Chain

The renewable energy supply chain (RESC) is defined as “the transformation of raw energy into usable energy and involves an effective set of management principles from the point of acquisition of energy resources to the point of consumption of usable energy”.

Renewable Energy Supply Chain

1. Introduction

The renewable energy supply chain is mainly consisting on five phases namely procurement, generation, transmission, distribution, and demand. These phases cover all processes along the supply chain of renewable energy, from raw materials (input) to the final product (output) [1][2]. Alternatively, the RESC can be divided into three processes as upstream, production, and downstream (see Figure 1) [3]. Its main objectives are to provide a regular and consistent supply of raw materials and to encourage and promote the use of renewable energy technologies [4].

Figure 1. Renewable energy supply chain [3].

The renewable energy supply chain differs following the renewable energy source (biomass, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal) (see Figure 2) [3][5]. A brief overview of the specific supply chain for each renewable energy source is given below.

Figure 2. Supply chain by renewable energy sources [3][5].

(a) The energy supply chain for biomass resources:

The energy supply chain for biomass includes three processes [5] as follows:

Firstly, the upstream process includes all operations (collection, storage, pre-processing) performed from the source as an input. Secondly, the production process aims to explore biomass energy sources to produce electricity via conversion devices. Lastly, the downstream process includes specific operations such as securing the availability of electricity stored for end-users.

The biomass energy supply chain is characterized by many particularities. First, biomass as a raw material has different seasonal availability and high purchase costs, which may arise due to the limited availability of the raw material. A further particularity is the low density of biomass as a raw material, which points that the various operating costs (storage, handling, transport, and others) are potentially increased along the whole supply chain [6][7].

The decision-making system specific to the biomass supply chain can be viewed from three levels [5][8][9]:

  • Strategic level: It is a long-term decision that includes the establishment of appropriate biomass supply systems, the installation of conversion devices, and the setting up of industrial sites and depots.
  • Tactical level: It is a medium-term decision to establish the overall planning in terms of the logistics operation (storage, transport, collection), and to identify the appropriate means of transportation.
  • Operational level: It is a short-term decision that involves detailed planning of all operations performed in daily operations within the supply chain as a whole.

In summary, the biomass energy supply chain faces two major challenges as the procurement system and conversion process, due to the constraints such as local infrastructure, geographical constraints, and the competitiveness issue of the actors implicated in the supply chain [10][11]. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all the activities associated with the supply chain should be managed effectively to maintain their smooth operation, particularly through good planning in the transportation of raw materials with strategically located industrial sites and depots [8][12].

(b) The energy supply chain for wind resources:

Similarly, the energy supply chain from wind contains three processes [5][13][14] as follows:

In the upstream process, energy sources from wind are characterized by the generation of electricity through the wind turbine. The latter contains certain components, including the mast, propeller, nacelle, blade, and rotor. It is also important to choose an installation site with high wind intensity. During operation, the system works, firstly, by rotating the blades by the wind, and then the propeller drives an axis into the nacelle so that the alternator produces alternating electric current by rotating the axis. Inside the mast, a transformer is required to adapt the voltage to facilitate transmission to the electrical grid. Most of the wind-generated electricity is not stored, due to storage costs that are caused by technical limitations. In the downstream part, the main challenge focuses on grid integration and load balancing.

In general, there are three phases involved in the implementation of a wind turbine project; namely, the development/planning of the project, installation of the turbine and finally energy production and distribution within the smart grid [15].

Moreover, two types of wind energy plants are available, namely offshore and onshore wind. These two types are distinguished by the infrastructure and installation, the benefit, and the increased risk level. For onshore wind, the level of benefit depends mainly on the wind turbine. For offshore wind, it depends on both the high cost of service and the cost of the installation, which accounts for approximately 25% of the total project value [16].

(c) The energy supply chain for solar resources:

Solar energy has recently been characterized by strong growth in technology investment and a large number of innovative initiatives [17]. Solar energy can be harnessed by two means, including solar photovoltaic and solar thermal.

The upstream process is based on the implementation of solar photovoltaic or solar thermal power generation systems. The production process focuses mainly on producing electricity either by PV modules or thermodynamic cycles driven by solar concentrating collectors. Finally, the downstream process in the supply chain consists of a continuous supply of electricity to end-users.

(d) The energy supply chain for water resources:

The hydropower supply chain exploits dams and seas to generate electricity.

Electric power is generated by releasing water through a turbine, which is connected to generators to create an alternating current that must be regulated to the voltage level of the power grid. The downstream process deals with the distribution of electricity to end-users based on their energy needs.

The hydropower supply chain faces several challenges to allow for the development of innovative systems in such a way to mitigate or prevent environmental impacts [18].

(e) The energy supply chain for geothermal resources:

The geothermal energy supply chain is based on three main processes [5] as follows:

The upstream process consists of extracting thermal resources from the earth as an input. In production process, water is infiltrated, heated until it is vaporized. Vapor drives a turbine to produce mechanical energy, which is then converted into electricity via a generator. This energy has to be adjusted to the voltage requirements of the electricity grid. Finally, the downstream process concerns the distribution of electricity to end-users.

The implementation of a geothermal project is typically divided into three phases as project planning, exploration, drilling and construction both above and below ground, and finally exploitation and maintenance operations [15].

2. Key Measures for the Development of the Renewable Energy Supply Chain

The key measures are discussed below to overcome the various barriers affecting the performance of the renewable energy supply chain.

(a) General key measures for the development of the renewable energy supply chain:

(1) Liberalization of the energy sector

The liberalization of the energy sector is one of the main measures, which requires the implementation of various policy initiatives to organize a transparent and competitive market [19]. All these initiatives represent significant progress towards the liberalization of the sector, but their successful change will require new regulatory mechanisms (e.g., external regulatory institutions to ensure the effective execution of these initiatives). In general, the objective of liberalizing the energy sector is to increase efficiency and competitiveness in the market [20][21].

(2) Elimination of subsidies for conventional energy

It is worth noting that fossil energy technologies indirectly receive subsidies because of the international agreements related to the energy sector. Therefore, the government should impose new policies and regulations limiting the use of fossil energy technologies and trigger a transition towards renewable energy technologies, which offer considerable socio-economic and environmental benefits. For this reason, financial support for the development of the renewable energy sector will help to maintain a cost-effective energy pricing policy for consumers [22][23].

(3) Public–private partnership

The participation of the private and public sectors to finance projects related to the renewable energy sector is increasingly important in terms of enhancing efficiency in project implementation. Therefore, an intensive support mechanism for public–private partnerships should be formed to achieve the sustainable development of this sector. This can make a significant contribution to the smooth running of projects [20].

(4) Access to financial incentives

Establishing financial incentive mechanisms to stimulate renewable energy utilization has helped to meet the logistics costs for sector expansion and to ensure competitiveness in the market. This initiative also offers various types of financial incentive mechanisms, such as low-interest credits, reductions based on electricity production [24][25].

(5) Measures to facilitate administrative procedures

Governments adopted important measures to facilitate administrative procedures, such as guidelines on financing procedures for renewable energy projects and the assessment of the resources needed for the implementation of such projects [26].

(b) Specific key measures for renewable energy supply chain development:

The following specific key measures can be classified into three categories in line with renewable energy sources:

(1) Recommendations for the development of the supply chain for biomass

Sustainable production of adequate quantities of biomass is a major issue in addition to storage constraints for biomass energy. Basically, three methods can be retained: storage on the ground with low storage costs, intermediate storage between farmers and stations which require higher delivery costs, and finally storage close to the station which optimizes delivery costs [7]. Therefore, optimized storage solutions for biomass sources make an important contribution in terms of cost reduction, the flexibility of the supply system, and sustainability of the supply chain [27].

(2) Recommendations for the development of the supply chain for wind

Some of the main best practices in the supply chain for wind energy include [13][14]: optimal location of wind farms, addressing specific factors such as being far away from urban areas, improving the efficiency of power grids by using advanced technologies to maintain a balance between electricity supply and demand, and incorporating technical standards for the grid integration of wind turbines.

(3) Recommendations for the development of the supply chain for other renewables

Other key measures recommended for tackling the barriers throughout the supply chain of other renewables are [4][28][29] mainly the introduction of an efficient energy storage system to guarantee the availability of energy while ensuring low cost-efficient conversion devices. Environmentally, it is also crucial to minimize the lifecycle carbon footprint of all the equipment used.


  1. Engelken, M.; Römer, B.; Drescher, M.; Welpe, I.M.; Picot, A. Comparing drivers, barriers, and opportunities of business models for renewable energies: A review. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2016, 60, 795–809.
  2. Moorthy, K.; Patwa, N.; Gupta, Y. Breaking barriers in deployment of renewable energy. Heliyon 2019, 5, e01166.
  3. Luthra, S.; Kumar, S.; Garg, D.; Haleem, A. Barriers to renewable/sustainable energy technologies adoption: Indian perspective. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2015, 41, 762–776.
  4. Jraisat, L.; Hattar, C. The Awareness of Renewable Energy efficiency for Supply Chain Management. Energies 2017, 10, 1618.
  5. Gordo, E.; Khalaf, N.; Strangeowl, T.; Dolino, R.; Bennett, N. Factors affecting solar power production efficiency. Supercomput. Chall. Miyamura High Sch. 2015, 7, 5.
  6. Notton, G.; Nivet, M.L.; Voyant, C.; Paoli, C.; Darras, C.; Motte, F.; Fouilloy, A. Intermittent and stochastic character of renewable energy sources: Consequences, cost of intermittence and benefit of forecasting. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2018, 87, 96–105.
  7. Boulakhbar, M.; Lebrouhi, B.; Kousksou, T.; Smouh, S.; Jamil, A.; Maaroufi, M.; Zazi, M. Towards a large-scale integration of renewable energies in Morocco. J. Energy Storage 2020, 32, 101806.
  8. Miller, M.; Cox, S. Overview of Variable Renewable Energy Regulatory Issues: A Clean Energy Regulators Initiative Report; National Renewable Energy Lab.(NREL): Golden, CO, USA, 2014.
  9. Lam, H.L.; Varbanov, P.S.; Klemeš, J.J. Optimisation of regional energy supply chains utilising renewables: P-graph approach. Comput. Chem. Eng. 2010, 34, 782–792.
  10. Alemán-Nava, G.S.; Casiano-Flores, V.H.; Cárdenas-Chávez, D.L.; Díaz-Chavez, R.; Scarlat, N.; Mahlknecht, J.; Dallemand, J.-F.; Parra, R. Renewable energy research progress in Mexico: A review. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2014, 32, 140–153.
  11. Bensch, G. The effects of market-based reforms on access to electricity in developing countries: A systematic review. J. Dev. Eff. 2019, 11, 165–188.
  12. Streimikiene, D.; Bruneckiene, J.; Cibinskiene, A. The review of electricity market liberalization impacts on electricity prices. Transform. Bus. Econ. 2013, 12, 30.
  13. Choukri, K.; Naddami, A.; Hayani, S. Renewable energy in emergent countries: Lessons from energy transition in Morocco. Energy Sustain. Soc. 2017, 7, 25.
  14. Sovacool, B.K. Reviewing, reforming, and rethinking global energy subsidies: Towards a political economy research agenda. Ecol. Econ. 2017, 135, 150–163.
  15. Li, H.; Bao, Q.; Ren, X.; Xie, Y.; Ren, J.; Yang, Y. Reducing rebound effect through fossil subsidies reform: A comprehensive evaluation in China. J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 141, 305–314.
  16. Mondal, M.A.H.; Kamp, L.M.; Pachova, N.I. Drivers, barriers, and strategies for implementation of renewable energy technologies in rural areas in Bangladesh—An innovation system analysis. Energy Policy 2010, 38, 4626–4634.
  17. El-Karmi, F.Z.; Abu-Shikhah, N.M. The role of financial incentives in promoting renewable energy in Jordan. Renew. Energy 2013, 57, 620–625.
  18. Yaqoot, M.; Diwan, P.; Kandpal, T.C. Review of barriers to the dissemination of decentralized renewable energy systems. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2016, 58, 477–490.
  19. Union, E. Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC. Off. J. Eur. Union 2009, 5, 2009.
  20. Gold, S. Bio-energy supply chains and stakeholders. Mitig. Adapt. Strateg. Glob. Chang. 2011, 16, 439–462.
  21. Kousksou, T.; Bruel, P.; Jamil, A.; el Rhafiki, T.; Zeraouli, Y. Energy storage: Applications and challenges. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 2014, 120, 59–80.
  22. Koohi-Fayegh, S.; Rosen, M. A review of energy storage types, applications and recent developments. J. Energy Storage 2020, 27, 101047.
  23. Morocco: Azelio in Solar Storage Venture. Available online: (accessed on 21 April 2020).
  24. National Research Council. The Power of Renewables: Opportunities and Challenges for China and the United States; National Academies Press: Washington, DC, USA, 2011.
  25. Tran, T.T.D.; Smith, A.D. Evaluation of renewable energy technologies and their potential for technical integration and cost-effective use within the U.S. energy sector. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2017, 80, 1372–1388.
  26. Verbruggen, A.; Fisched, M.; Moomaw, W.; Weir, T.; Nadaï, A.; Nilsson, L.J.; Nyboer, J.; Sathaye, J. Renewable energy costs, potentials, barriers: Conceptual issues. Energy Policy 2010, 38, 850–861.
  27. Masini, A.; Menichetti, E. Investment decisions in the renewable energy sector: An analysis of non-financial drivers. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Chang. 2013, 80, 510–524.
  28. Kousksou, T.; Allouhi, A.; Belattar, M.; Jamil, A.; el Rhafiki, T.; Zeraouli, Y. Morocco’s strategy for energy security and low-carbon growth. Energy 2015, 84, 98–105.
  29. Cambero, C.; Sowlati, T. Assessment and optimization of forest biomass supply chains from economic, social and environmental perspectives-A review of literature. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2014, 36, 62–73.
Subjects: Business
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 11.4K
Entry Collection: Chemical Bond
Revisions: 3 times (View History)
Update Date: 16 Feb 2021