(Montel) New wind power projects across Europe could face delays this year due to disruptions in supply chains and construction caused by the coronavirus pandemic, analysts and industry sources said on Tuesday.
Spain, France and Italy could be especially hit “due to more aggressive lockdown measures inhibiting worker mobility”, said consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
“Production in those countries is also starting to suffer with factory closures mounting this week due to coronavirus infections,” said Dan Shreve, WoodMac’s head of global wind energy research.
Mackenzie pointed out that wind turbine manufacturers and blade suppliers such as Siemens Gamesa and LM Wind Power have suspended operations in Spain.
“Although the stated downtime is measured in weeks, it may take months if the rate of infections in Spain continues to rise,” it said.
Covid-19 cases have climbed to around 64,000 in Italy and nearly 40,000 in Spain, according to a John Hopkins University.
New wind plants currently under construction in Spain were unlikely to see delays, though uncertainty remained over activity in the second half of the year, a Spanish wind industry source told Montel.
The affection could range from a “negligible” 5-10% reduction if the lockdown was a matter of weeks, to a “significant impact” if the current scenario is extended until June, he added.
Spain could also see wind project delays in 2021 as relevant legislation for renewables – including an energy transition law setting new green auctions – looked poised to remain idled as the parliament was largely inactive after the state of emergency was declared 10 days ago, the source said.
The Spanish government revised up its green capacity goals earlier this year and now aimed to reach 96.8 GW in combined wind and solar capacity by 2030, with green tenders potentially awarding 3 GW per year.
“Planned auctions in Poland and Ukraine for H1 2020 are unlikely to proceed as previously thought because governments are consumed with tackling the pandemic,” WoodMac’s Shreve said.
Polish wind lobby PWEA urged the government to extend deadlines for wind developers with capacity awarded at auctions but facing delays in equipment delivery.
“Vestas and Siemens informed us about disruptions in the supply chain that will cause delays, hard to say now by how much,” said Janusz Gajowiecki, head of PWEA.
Poland is one of Europe’s fastest growing markets for onshore wind with roughly 3.2 GW scheduled to go online in the next three years.
The impact was unlikely to be “as severe” in other European countries such as France and Germany, though Norway may struggle “due to an inability for foreign project teams to enter the country”, according to WoodMac’s Shreve.
Norwegian wind power projects looked poised to be “affected and delayed by however long the current situation lasts”, the country’s wind energy association said last week.
Sweden could also see delays to the start-up of wind farms under construction, Montel reported earlier.
Globally, new wind power capacity added in 2020 could be 4.9 GW lower than initially forecast owing to the coronavirus that emerged from China late last year, according to WoodMac, estimating the total to now stand at 73 GW.
“The situation has shifted a bit lately from delays in the supply chain due to the crisis in China to delays due to the crisis here in Europe, so we’ll see what that means for wind deployment in the near future,” said a spokesperson from Wind Europe, the region’s main wind lobby.
15:44, Tuesday, 24 March 2020
Additional reporting by:
15:44, Tuesday, 24 March 2020