The Impact of the Coronavirus on the Renewable Energy Industry
The beginning of 2020 has been uncertain for many industries and has changed the world in many ways. During the pandemic, pollution and carbon emissions declined, leaving the environment cleaner than years past. These declines have created a demand for renewable energy.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), countries are taking measures that are driving a major shift towards low carbon sources of electricity including wind, solar PV, hydropower and nuclear.
While it is predicted that the demand for global energy will decrease by about 6%, the demand for renewable energy is expected to increase by 1% this year. Renewable electricity, in particular, is expected to rise by 5% during 2020. This is a significant increase.
The coronavirus crisis has emphasized the global need for reliable electricity for computers, businesses, and every day needs. Fatih Birol, The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, believes that governments can learn from this by putting clean energy technologies — renewables, efficiency, batteries, hydrogen and carbon capture — at the heart of their plans for economic recovery. He states, “Investing in those areas can create jobs, make economies more competitive and steer the world towards a more resilient and cleaner energy future.”
The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable energy than from coal for the first time. According to the New York Times, “In just the first four and a half months of this year, America’s fleet of wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams have produced more electricity than coal on 90 separate days — shattering last year’s record of 38 days for the entire year. On May 1 in Texas, wind power alone supplied nearly three times as much electricity as coal did.”
The beginning of 2020 started with residential and commercial renewable projects set to see highs because of more affordable, more efficient solar PV and rooftop systems. With these high goals, the pandemic was certainly a difficult hit to the industry. However, the strong outlook for renewable energy at the beginning of this year indicates that the industry is growing. The full impact of the coronavirus on the industry is not yet realized and will take time to bring to light, but there are promising signs for the future of the renewable energy industry.
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