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UK’s 2020 wind energy capacity at risk due to COVID-19

The UK’s total installations for newà‚ wind energyà‚ capacity are expected to drop below 1 GW in 2020 as the country battles the current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to GlobalData.

The UK is expected to install 980 MW compared to 2.47 GW in 2019.

Before the pandemic, the UK expected to install 1.22 GW of new wind energy capacity in 2020. COVID-19 has caused a decline of 0.24 GW in the UK’s estimated annual installed capacity for 2020.

The decline in wind energy installations will be caused by closure of production by companies such as Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in compliance with lockdown regulations.

Despite some of production companies resuming operations, this year’s annual wind installation capacity has already been negatively impacted.

The UK has also revised the deadlines of its tenders with up to 7 GW in production capacity to give participants more time and flexibility.

Somik Das, senior power analyst at GlobalData, said: “Globally, the UK has become one of the most eminent players in the offshore wind market with cumulative installed capacity growing from 1.34 GW in 2010 to 9.97 GW in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic could make it harder for wind farms to stay operational.

“The average energy demand in the UK declined by 13 per cent 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. 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 rate at which the approval of the projects takes place combined with the rate at which the developers can carry out the projects in the second half of the year would be detrimental in understanding how much of a loss is borne by the sector during the lockdown period.”

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