COVID-19 has impacted a number of industries, and the renewable wind energy sector is no exception. Today, the pandemic has thrust the wind energy industry into challenging times as communities face economic contractions, surging unemployment and disruptions to capital flows.
The Impact of COVID-19
An estimated record number of wind projects are currently under development; however, delays due to COVID-19 have made it difficult for some U.S. wind projects to be completed in time to meet their financial and economic obligations. This has wind energy companies bracing for lost progress unless the federal government steps in.
Currently, COVID-19 has put nearly 25 gigawatts of wind projects at risk for cancellation and resulted in approximately $35B in investment dollars lost. This includes the potential loss of over $8B to rural communities in state and local tax payments, as well as land-lease payments to private landowners.
Then there are the job losses. Wind energy has been a major creator of skilled jobs. In fact, over 120,000 U.S. workers have careers in the wind power industry that are spread across all 50 states. However, because the pandemic is hampering the wind industry’s ability to produce the number of wind energy farms that congressional legislation has intended, an estimated 35,000 wind energy jobs are at risk.
In an effort to protect jobs, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has requested Congress to allow existing policies to continue during this time. This will eliminate the uncertainty created by expected delays, permit investment and hiring – to continue with two additional years of safe harbor for projects commencing construction after Dec. 31, 2015 and allowing tax credits to be received as planned.
Wind power has become a key building block for economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by enabling governments to renew critical infrastructures for a more sustainable future. These should be encouraging words in a post-pandemic world, as the wind industry delivers the jobs and clean, affordable power and energy needed for the economy to sustain itself and get back on the road to economic recovery.
Worldwide Facilities has market reach and comprehensive risk management programs to serve virtually every sector of the energy industry. To learn about our Renewable Wind Energy program, please contact Loren Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619‑541‑4265.