According to the “International Energy Outlook 2013”, world energy use will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. Half of the increase is attributed to growth in China and India. Fossil fuels will continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through to 2040. Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel, supported by increasing supplies of shale gas, particularly in the United States. In the electricity sector, renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year.
According to the “World Energy Investment Outlook 2014”, “[o]ver the period to 2035, the investment required each year to supply the world’s energy needs rises steadily towards $2000 billion. [...] Decisions to commit capital to the energy sector are increasingly shaped by government policy measures and incentives, rather than by signals coming from competitive markets.”
In this evolving scenario several different factors, either opportunities or threats, contribute to increasing the uncertainty and complexity of policy- and business-related decisions. The 2009 Russia–Ukraine gas dispute and the recent events in North Africa demonstrate the intrinsic vulnerability of a “fossil fuel supply chain” to geopolitical risks. The emerging role of shale gas and shale oil represents a controversial phenomenon, since the risk balance of this option remains largely unexplored. In particular, the recent reduction in oil price to about 60-70 $/barrel, the lowest point since 2009, calls into question the economic viability of investments in new, unconventional sources.
Moreover, traditional base load generation technologies (e.g. coal, nuclear) and large distribution infrastructures (e.g. power transmission lines, LNG platforms, oil pipelines) continue to show their vulnerability to a wide spectrum of issues such as natural disasters and incidents and growing social unacceptability, particularly in the OECD countries.
The mass deployment of renewable sources (mainly wind, solar and biomass) could positively contribute to increasing the operational and supply chain resilience of the energy sector. However, the technical feasibility and the economics of possible solutions are largely uncertain, especially when considering the intrinsic variability of these sources where a technological limit is still difficult to overcome. The deployment of existing and new renewable technologies is also strongly influenced by the evolution of government policies.
Supply chain and operational resilience will be a critical factor in granting or supporting sustainable development (economic, environmental and social) of energy systems in the future.
Given the extreme relevance and complexity of the field, this special issue aims to bring together the contributions of scholars and practitioners with state-of-the-art papers focused on supply chain and operational resilience in the energy sector. Senior managers, policy makers, practitioners and the wider community of scholars are the targeted audience.
Considering the need of a holistic approach, managerial, financial and technically oriented papers are all welcome, so long as the content can be understood by the target audience and the scope is adequately broad. Case studies, benchmarking of technological or operational alternatives and review papers are particularly welcome.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Uncertainty modelling and analysis for decision support in the energy sector
- Application of real options to investment evaluation in the energy sector
- Maintenance management and power plant life extension
- Impact of policy and regulatory decisions on plant operations
- Supply chain and operational resilience of plants in remote locations
- Resilience engineering of energy systems
- Risk management of energy infrastructures
- Fuel supply chain resilience (including appropriateness of fuel processing)
- Resilience of energy systems during major events
- Emergency and crisis management of energy systems
- Business resilience and external factors (environmental, social ande regulatory issues) in the energy sector
- Resilience capabilities of renewables
- Resilience and sustainability in the energy sector
- Other related topics
Full paper submission: 30 June, 2015
Notification to authors: 1 October, 2015
Final versions due: 1 December, 2015