European wind power and the impact of COVID-19

FuturENERGY September-October 2020

The wind power sector has and continues to face huge challenges caused by the COVID-19 health crisis, however has remained resilient, managing to deliver 17% of Europe’s electricity demand in the first half of the year. Moreover financing for new wind farms reached €14.3bn. These figures are borne out by the report, “The impact of COVID-19 on Europe’s wind sector”, published by WindEurope at the end of July. The report analyses the impact of COVID-19 on the wind power industry and finds it uniquely positioned to contribute to the economic recovery under the €750bn EU recovery plan, in which 30% will be allocated to green investments.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the wind industry supply chain experienced major disruptions in the first half-year, particularly in the production and assembly of wind turbine components and imports of subcomponents, mainly from Asia.

In Europe the peak of the disruption took place in early April when 19 manufacturing sites were temporarily closed in Spain and Italy in response to national government measures. Many other European factories experienced temporary closures. Other facilities reduced the number of workers due to the implementation of social distancing and quarantines. As the new WindEurope publication shows, the reduced free movement of people and goods impacted O&M services and the commissioning of onshore and offshore wind.