It seemed that nothing could slow the global renewable-energy juggernaut. Nothing, that is, until COVID-19. From the solar factory floors of China’s Jiangsu province to wind farm country in West Texas, the clean-energy industries are struggling to gauge the potential damage that lies ahead — and it’s not a pretty picture.
Just a few weeks ago, the biggest COVID-19 concern for renewable energy appeared to be the supply of equipment, reflecting the outbreak’s early impact in China. Would there be enough solar panels, wind turbines and batteries to meet demand and project deadlines, given the widespread factory shutdowns?
But after a wild few days of escalating infection numbers and increasingly frantic government responses in Europe and the U.S., the focus is quickly shifting to demand, as the reality dawns that a global economic slowdown may be inevitable.