GTM’s Live Coronavirus Blog: The Impact on Clean Energy

For all their momentum, the clean-energy sectors — solar,
wind, energy storage, and companies transforming the power grid
— will not escape the COVID-19 downdraft. These industries face
daunting questions about every aspect of their business, from
supply chains to potential workforce shortages, to broader
questions about the economy, demand for energy and the availability
of finance.

Over the coming weeks, Greentech Media will devote much of its
journalistic efforts to the impacts of COVID-19. We’ll highlight
our coverage here alongside other news and information that may be
useful to our readers. As always, keep in touch and let us know how
things look on the ground: editors@greentechmedia.com


  • Tesla Closes Its Factories in California and New
    York
    : As calls for people to stay home grew
    increasingly urgent, Tesla announced plans to close two plants
    making electric vehicles and products for the solar and energy
    storage markets. Will other U.S. solar manufacturers follow suit?
    Every Tier 1 solar module factory in the U.S. is located in
    counties with confirmed coronavirus cases, said Xiaojing Sun, a
    senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

  • Lightsource BP Finalizes a Big Texas Solar Deal (Despite
    Everything)
    : Some deals, at least, are still getting
    done. Lightsource BP, the U.K.-based solar developer backed by oil
    giant BP, tied up a $250 million finance package for a 260-megawatt
    solar project in Texas. Social distancing rules mean construction
    workers are not allowed to group together for coffee breaks or
    other meetings. But Kevin Smith, CEO for the Americas, told GTM he
    expects the project will be allowed to continue rolling
    forward.


  • What COVID-19 and Climate Change Have in
    Common
    : American society has made dramatic changes in
    response to the COVID-19 crisis. Why hasn’t it responded with
    similar urgency to climate change — another human-propelled
    global catastrophe that could harm human health and well-being for
    generations to come? This week’s podcast episode of Political
    Climate takes a look.


  • Solar, Wind and Storage Industries Seek Relief in
    Coronavirus Stimulus Package
    : If U.S. wind and solar
    projects can’t finish construction this year, many could lose
    access to critical federal tax credits that are phasing down. The
    lobbying battle to prevent that from happening has begun.


  • Coronavirus Could Make It Harder to Keep Wind Farms Up and
    Running
    : If a wind farm breaks down during a global
    pandemic, who will be there to fix it? Travel bans, supply chain
    pressure and a natural inclination to defer maintenance during
    difficult economic times could all dent the output of existing wind
    farms, experts say.


  • Siemens Gamesa Closes a Second Factory After Positive
    Coronavirus Test
    : The world’s number-two maker of wind
    turbines closed a blade factory after an employee tested positive
    for coronavirus, the second factory it’s closed in Spain. The
    facility can turn out enough blades to build 600 to 800 megawatts
    of wind capacity a year, or around 10 percent of Siemens Gamesa’s
    global output.


  • Keeping the Lights On: US Utility Sector Braces for Coronavirus
    Impact
    : Power utilities and generators face an array
    of risks in the weeks ahead, from energy “demand destruction” as
    economies slow to tightening debt conditions that could ripple
    through the commodity markets. Depressed electricity demand from
    commercial and industrial consumers is one source of concern. In
    contrast, residential powerdemand is “relatively more stable under
    economic distress,” according to a Wood Mackenzie report.


  • EU Green Deal Should Be Canceled Because of Coronavirus,
    Czech PM Says
    : Some politicians in Easter Europe have
    called on the EU to abandon its Green Deal and focus on fighting
    the spread of the coronavirus. The debate has begun over whether
    COVID-19 is reason to accelerate or slow down the energy
    transition.


  • Can Rooftop Solar Thrive in an Economic Downturn?
    :
    Last month, Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich told investors that residential
    solar could prove to be a “countercyclical product,” potentially
    creating an “urgency” in the sales process as consumers look to
    save money. Given the way things are going, Sunrun and its peers
    will soon testing that theory.


  • For Wind and Solar Sectors, Biggest Coronavirus Risk May Be
    a Damaged Economy
    : Just a few weeks ago, the biggest
    COVID-19 concern for renewables appeared to be the supply of
    equipment. Would there be enough solar panels, wind turbines and
    batteries to meet demand and project deadlines, given the
    widespread factory shutdowns in China? But with a recession now all
    but inevitable, the focus is quickly shifting to demand.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
GTM’s Live Coronavirus Blog: The Impact on Clean Energy