The coronavirus pandemic is affecting nearly every aspect of life in the world in a negative way, and solar and wind power is also taking a hit.
Coronavirus and manufacturing
Factories in China that make solar panels and wind turbines were shut down in an attempt to contain the coronavirus, and that has slowed the production of green energy equipment. Chinese factories are now beginning to relaunch operations, but there will be a negative ripple effect as the virus spreads to other parts of the world.
On Monday [today], two major solar panel manufacturers that supply the US utility market, JinkoSolar Holding Co. and Canadian Solar Inc., both saw their stock prices fall by double digits. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm, previously predicted that global solar energy capacity would grow by 121 to 152 gigawatts this year, but on Friday, the group issued a new report dialing back its prediction to just 108 to 143 Gigawatts.
In the US… utility-scale wind developers have received ‘force majeure’ notices from wind turbine suppliers in Asia who cannot fulfill their contract obligations in time.
Coronavirus and stimulus packages
Further, governments are having to turn away from focusing on green energy projects and turn their attention to coronavirus action plans. But Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian:
We should not allow today’s crisis to compromise the clean energy transition.
We have an important window of opportunity. Major economies around the world are preparing stimulus packages. A well-designed stimulus package could offer economic benefits and facilitate a turnover of energy capital which have huge benefits for the clean energy transition.
These challenging market conditions will be a clear test for government commitments. But the good news is that compared to economic stimulus packages of the past we have much cheaper renewable technologies, have made major progress in electric vehicles, and there is a supportive financial community for the clean energy transition.
If the right policies are put in place there are opportunities to make the best of this situation.
To state the obvious, everything is rapidly taking a backseat to global efforts to contain the coronavirus, and rightly so. As my Electrek colleague Bradley Berman reported last week, the EV industry is also taking a hit.
But Birol is right. If governments integrate green energy into their stimulus packages, then there is an opportunity to take this incredibly challenging time to advance the transition into clean energy further.
Photo: Nikkei Asian Review
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