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COVID-19 Puts Brakes on Wind Power Developments

  • Thriving wind industry struggles with delays and supply chain disruptions during COVID-19 pandemic
  • One estimate puts wind developments at 30 percent below forecasts for 2020
  • Despite challenges, American Wind Energy Association reports considerable progress in wind developments in the second quarter of the year

Wind power is one of the many industries struggling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with supply chain disruptions and other issues putting the financial feasibility of large energy products at risk. While progress continues on these developments, the challenges are likely to shape the industry’s future strategy.

Problems such as shipping delays, factory shutdowns, and COVID-19 infections among workers on wind projects have hampered progress in 2020. The federal CARES Act did not appropriate any money to renewable energy, although the government did extend a deadline necessary to complete wind energy projects in order to receive a tax credit.

The wind advocacy group WindEurope says wind energy projects are expected to be 30 percent below forecasts this year. Long delays can increase the costs of these developments and jeopardize their financial feasibility, and the American Wind Energy Association estimated at the outset of the pandemic that COVID-19 could cost the industry 35,000 jobs, $35 billion in investments, and $8 billion in revenues for the primarily rural communities where wind farms are built.

Renewable energy is likely to endure in 2021 as several large companies make commitments to become carbon-neutral. The American Wind Energy Association’s also delivered an upbeat second quarter report, saying 14 projects totaling more than 2,500 megawatts were completed across nine states during the period. These included significant advances in offshore wind, namely the completion of two turbines off Virginia.

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