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The Coronavirus’ Effect on the Solar Power, Wind Power & Renewable Energy Industry, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 affected many sectors of the renewable energy industry.  Demand for electricity fell, as least temporarily.  The degree to which it dropped varied according to what stage of lock-down was in effect from place to place.  June 2020 electricity demand on a global basis was down 10%, while July was down only 5%.  Empty offices, stores restaurants and shopping malls meant much lower use of electricity.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) expected global energy demand to drop 6% in 2020, the largest fall in more than 70 years.  Global CO2 emissions were expected to decline 8% in 2020.  However, emissions historically have recovered rapidly once economies improve.  Growth in renewable energy was expected to slow in 2020 with the addition of only 167 gigawatts of capacity, 13% less than in 2019.  This is due to supply chain disruptions, lockdown measures and social distancing, which delayed sales, logistics, permitting and construction of new renewable energy projects.
Transport biofuel production was expected to fall 13% in 2020 (the first drop in 20 years).  Less activity in the industrial sector will likely curb renewable heat consumption as well.  Extremely low prices for oil and gas are also slowing the development of biofuels and renewable heat technologies.
Spending on energy efficiency fell significantly during the Coronavirus pandemic, with investments in efficiency and end-use applications expected to drop from 10% to 15% in 2020.  In 2019, annual installations of energy storage technologies fell for the first time in a decade.  Concerns about battery safety and lack of political support slowed growth, with grid-scale installations dropping by 20%.  The Coronavirus pandemic was expected to continue this downward trend since the technology has a complicated supply chain of battery cells, modules, packs and installers.
On the positive side, renewables increased their share of power consumption in some markets during lockdowns, due to today’s low solar operating costs and priority network access. 

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