facebook linkedin twitter

The Coronavirus Is Taking A Toll On The Renewable Energy Sector

May 19, 2020 by Gaspard Le Dem

The natural world has gotten a boost from the coronavirus pandemic. 

With fewer cars on the roads and planes in the sky, the world has benefited from clearer skies and an unprecedented decline in carbon emissions. 

Daily CO2 emissions decreased by 17% between January and early April compared to average 2019 levels, according to new research by Nature Climate Change.

But the renewable energy sector hasn’t been so lucky. Clean energy — from electric vehicles to wind and solar power — has taken a hit during the crisis. 

According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data by BW Research, nearly 600,000 workers in clean energy jobs filed for unemployment benefits in April and March — a 17% drop in clean energy employment.

The layoffs have impacted the industry across many occupations, from the energy efficiency sector to renewable power generation and clean vehicle manufacturing.

California — where many of the nation’s clean energy jobs are located — has seen the largest number of layoffs, losing 77,900 jobs or 15% of its clean energy workforce, according to BW Research.

Fearing COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, manufacturing plants that produce everything from electric vehicles to wind turbine parts have been forced to close. 

Last month, a wind power facility in Grand Forks, North Dakota was shut down after eight workers tested positive for coronavirus. In California, Tesla was forced to suspend production at its Flagship Fremont factory for weeks after a contentious back-and-forth with local authorities who had imposed a health order.

Global electric vehicle sales are expected to drop 43% to 1.3 million in 2020, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie, a market research and consulting company. “The uncertainty and fear created by the outbreak has made consumers less inclined to adopt a new technology,” said Ram Chandrasekaran, an analyst for the firm. 

The economic impact of the pandemic has also forced renewable companies to put major projects on hold as financing streams dry up. In Texas, Swinerton Renewable Energy had to delay building a $109 million solar farm that was expected to generate 400 construction jobs and power around 25,000 homes. 

Smaller companies have also experienced a slowdown in business during the pandemic. Demand for residential solar panel installations has plummeted as cities and counties issue shelter-in-place orders. 

Residential solar company Sungevity announced that it would lay off close to 400 employees in March, citing “business conditions and the COVID-19 outbreak.” In April, the Solar Energy Industry Association estimated that the U.S. solar industry could lose up to half of its 250,000-strong workforce. 

Energy

Report: Offshore Wind Supply Chain Worth $109B Over 10 Years

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and... Read More

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and operating the nascent industry will be worth $109 billion to businesses in its supply chain over the next 10 years. The report by the Special Initiative... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Dan McCue
Haaland Reveals Administration Plan for Massive Expansion of Offshore Wind

BOSTON, Mass. -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration... Read More

BOSTON, Mass. -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration wants to dramatically expand the nation’s use of wind power, opening large swaths of coastal waters to wind farm development. In a speech before American Clean... Read More

October 7, 2021
by Reece Nations
Analysts Ask Congress to Expand Clean Energy Tax Cuts to Nuclear Energy

WASHINGTON — Senior analysts from the Breakthrough Institute circulated a letter on Thursday compelling Congressional leaders to extend federal clean-energy... Read More

WASHINGTON — Senior analysts from the Breakthrough Institute circulated a letter on Thursday compelling Congressional leaders to extend federal clean-energy tax credits to advanced nuclear energy. Breakthrough Institute's Jameson McBride, senior climate and energy analyst, and Adam Stein, senior nuclear analyst, jointly authored the letter in... Read More

October 6, 2021
by Dan McCue
General Motors, GE Sign MOU to Develop Joint EV and Renewable Energy Supply Chains

DETROIT - General Motors and GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of the General Electric Co., have signed an agreement to... Read More

DETROIT - General Motors and GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of the General Electric Co., have signed an agreement to develop supply chains supporting the manufacturing of electric vehicles and renewable energy equipment. What both companies are calling a “non-binding memorandum of understanding” in a statement... Read More

Ship Anchor Suspected in Pipeline Break That Fouled Beaches

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An anchored cargo ship in the Pacific is not a fixed point — it's different than... Read More

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An anchored cargo ship in the Pacific is not a fixed point — it's different than parking a car. Even then, with a multi-ton anchor and brawny steel chains resting on the seabed, the massive vessels can move from shifting winds, ocean... Read More

October 4, 2021
by Dan McCue
City of Salem Poised to Become Massachusetts’ Second Offshore Wind Port

SALEM, Mass. - Vineyard Wind, the joint venture seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm off the U.S.... Read More

SALEM, Mass. - Vineyard Wind, the joint venture seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm off the U.S. coast has entered into a tentative agreement with the City of Salem, Massachusetts and the Crowley Maritime Corp. to build the state’s second port dedicated to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top