The spread of Covid-19 presents “a crisis unlike anything the market has ever seen” for the wind power sector, according to a top energy research firm.
Wood Mackenzie (Woodmac) claim the coronavirus pandemic will cause wind additions in 2020 to decline by 4.9 gigawatts (GW) globally, a significant drop on its previous assessment.
Its revised estimate now forecast wind additions for 2020 to be around 73GW.
Dan Shreve, Woodmac head of global wind energy research, said: “The impact of the coronavirus is top of mind for the global wind industry and embodies a crisis unlike anything the market has even seen.
“The state of the pandemic is evolving on an hourly basis, resulting in a highly reactionary environment.
“Industry stakeholders are continually adapting business operations to balance worker safety with the needs of their clients, all while complying with dynamic government containment measures.”
According to Woodmac analysts, the potential impact on global installations remains most significant in China and the US, where wind-focused policy deadlines were expected to deliver record volumes.
European Tier I wind energy markets, such as Spain, France and Italy, could be hit even harder on a percentage basis due to more aggressive lockdown measures inhibiting worker mobility.
Mr Shreve added: “Production in those countries is also starting to suffer with factory closures mounting this week due to coronavirus infections.
“The domino effect for other markets may be limited, especially considering the rapid recovery envisioned for China’s wind energy supply chain and limited impact of the pandemic in India and Latin America to date.”
It also added that “risks do remain, especially in Europe” where factory closures will likely result in turbine installation delays, both domestically and potentially for the US.
Spanish wind turbine blade plants such as LM Wind Power and Siemens Gamesa confirmed they will shut down production.
Mr Shreve added: “Although the stated downtime is measured in weeks, it may take months if the rate of infections in Spain continues to rise”.