The Impact of COVID-19 on the Renewable Energy Industry

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Renewable Energy Industry
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BY:
Loren Henry

Broker

August 18, 2020

COVID-19 has affected nearly every industry. And while it isn’t possible to realize the full impact on the renewable energy sector at this point in time, the industry is already experiencing a number of environmental consequences. Here’s what we know so far.

Converting Brownfields and Landfills into Renewable Energy Sites Poses a Contamination Threat
Stay-at-home mandates and social distancing efforts to contain the spread of the virus have driven e-commerce to new heights. With online retailers tracking more consumer data than ever before (think product recommendations and target advertising), the demand for more data processing centers is greater. In turn, this means an increase in energy needs. And while converting brownfields and landfills into renewable energy sites is an option for helping meet the growing demand, tapping into this type of property may cause a public health hazard, as pollutants have the potential to leak into groundwater supplies or spread into the air.   

Carrier Transporting Can Potentially Increase the Risk of a Pollution-Related Event
The increase in e-commerce deliveries to consumers has also increased business at product warehouses and distribution centers. And while not having to set foot in a retail store can help prevent the spread of the virus, the uptick in home deliveries means more trucks on our highways and a greater chance of more accidents involving hazardous material spills. Even collisions involving nonhazardous materials can pose an environmental risk — given the right circumstances. For example, a nontoxic substance leaking into a nearby body of water may not be hazardous to humans, but may be poisonous enough to pollute a waterway and cause death to fish and wildlife.

New Operational Exposures May Increase Environmental Risks
As more retail spaces become available, many building spaces and complexes are being redeveloped or repurposed to meet the growth in e-commerce. For example, a location where an automotive business once operated may be purchased and developed into a warehouse storage facility. And while this may appear to be an innocuous event, hazardous situations may develop from the previous occupant’s exposure, such as contamination from petroleum hydrocarbon contamination.

At Worldwide Facilities, we’re helping renewable energy businesses nationwide meet the specialized insurance challenges of the rapidly growing renewable energy sector.

To learn about our unique insurance solutions that arise in this ever-changing industry, please contact Loren Henry at lhenry@wwfi.com or 619-541-4265. 

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