Lockdown Causing the Wind Industry to Slow Down

New wind power projects are under threat as the coronavirus has caused a delay and shortage for components such as turbine blades.

The quick rise of the wind power industry is facing a sudden slowdown as the lockdowns enforced around the world due to Covid-19 are affecting supply chains. In turn many new projects are being threatened with being delayed or even cancelled.

Disruption across the world has been caused as countries have brought in different measures to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Companies such as Siemens Gamesa and Vestas are facing shortages for components which is putting up to 30 gigawatts of new installed capacity at risk in China, Europe and the United States for this year alone, leading industry bodies have stated.

The wind energy industry was expecting a booming year in 2020 as many developers were racing to complete projects in China and the US before the end of the year as subsidies were then going to decrease. An expected 76.7 gigawatts of new installed capacity were planned to come online which is an increase of nearly 25 per cent on 2019, stated Wood Mackenzie an energy consultancy firm.

However, issues with the supply chain around the world has led to over 30 gigawatts of new wind power at risk of being delayed. These bottlenecks mean that the US, Europe and China could miss out on 16 gigawatts, 4.6 gigawatts and 10 gigawatts respectively of clean renewable energy this year according to the Global Wind Energy Council, American Wind Energy Association and Wind Europe.

Independent consultancy firms have already made the decision to decrease their predictions for this year by up to 9 gigawatts.

Delays in the supply chain have already created a shortage for components such as gearbox bearings, turbine blades and other equipment such as cranes. These shortages only add to an industry which was already becoming stretched to try and meet the high levels of demand due to its rapid growth.

Shashi Barla from Wood Mackenzie has stated that there would be a knock on effect from the shutdown of factories in China. These factories alone account nearly half of the supply chain for the global wind industry and the factories in China were the first to shut down.

As the pandemic spread across the globe more countries had to implement measures to limit the spread. Therefore, other key manufacturing plants in nations such as India, Spain and the United States has meant that around $6 billion worth of turbine components and equipment’s have been jeopardised for this year.

Both Vesta and Siemens Gasesa are already assessing the impact that the pandemic is having on the supply chains and are looking at implementing measures to limit the effects of it.

It is expected that there will be effects to the roll out of new projects over this year however companies are still planning on achieving their installation targets for the year.

Project developers are also concerned about the effects that the lockdown will have on them. During these times capital costs are increasing making it more expensive to complete existing projects and the limited access to finance may slowdown investment into new wind turbine projects in the future.

It’s not all bad news though as Chinese suppliers are now back up and running and trying to make up for lost time by producing above the normal capacity pre lockdown. This is to try and cover any short fallings in supply which may occur.

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