Coronavirus takes wind out of renewables market

Forecasted output in the wind power market in 2020 is set to be downgraded due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The amount of energy produced by turbines was on an upward trajectory and forecast to grow by 20 per cent this year, however, the economic slowdown has led to a reduction in the number of turbine installations.

GlobalData noted that total annual installations for wind power reached 2.7GW in 2019 but estimates for 2020 were now around the 980MW mark.

“The average energy demand in the UK declined by 13% after the UK Government announced the lockdown. The output of existing wind farms could significantly decrease due to the supply chain, travel bans and deferred maintenance. In addition, a shortage of engineering staff due to the lockdown could delay critical operational and maintenance (O&M) work at project sites,” GlobalData’s senior power analyst Somik Das said.

“Under normal circumstances, fixing a broken rotor or gearbox typically takes no longer than a month but now it could see up to six months of downtime on a particular turbine, which is quite significant for the wind industry as a whole. Thus, the performance of the wind sector in the second half of the year will be of critical importance for the UK.”

The ramifications of the coronavirus has affected other areas of the green energy sector with solar capacity predicted to fall 16 per cent compared to previous estimates.

Meanwhile, the planned rollout of EV charger installations has been put on hold, contributing to a slowdown in the sales of EVs.

Renewable electricity overtakes fossil fuels in the UK for the first time

A couple of days after the famous Ferrybridge power station cooling towers were razed to the ground, it was announced that, in the third quarter of 2019, for the first time history renewable energy generated more electricity than fossil fuel power stations in the United Kingdom.

The U.K’s wind farms, solar panels, biomass and hydro plants outstripped coal, oil and gas during the months of July, August and September, producing 29.5 terawatts (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh, according to Carbon Brief.

The new milestone confirms predictions made by the National Grid that 2019 will be the first year since the industrial revolution that zero-carbon electricity – renewables and nuclear – overtakes gas and coal-fired power. New offshore wind farms have helped to take renewables past fossil fuels in a crucial tipping point in Britain’s Energy transition.

Less than 10 years ago fossil fuels made up four-fifths of the country’s electricity, which was split between gas and coal. However, the recent analysis undertaken by Carbon Brief shows that coal-fired power made up less than 1% of all electricity generated. This has resulted in British coal plants, such as Ferrybridge, which has dominated the Yorkshire skyline for around half a century, shutting down ahead of the 2025 ban. By next spring just four coal plants will remain in the UK.

Nuclear made up less than a fifth of the UK’s electricity in the last quarter, while wind power is the UK’s strongest source of renewable energy. The opening of wind farm schemes almost doubled the 2,100MW worth of offshore capacity which began powering homes in 2018.

Luke Clark of Renewable UK, stated the industry hopes to treble the size of its offshore wind sector by 2030 to generate more than a third of the UK’s electricity.

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