Disruption to the UK’s wind market as a result of the coronavirus is expected to knock installations of new capacity throughout 2020.
Analytics firm GlobalData forecasts annual installations could stand at 980MW for 2020, down from 2.47GW in 2019.
Before the outbreak of the virus, annual installations were estimated to reach 1.22GW in 2020 – GlobalData says this will now be hard to reach as major companies in the sector have been forced to halt production to comply with the UK’s lockdown.
The UK has also revised the timetable for awarding rights to sites capable of generating 7GW of offshore wind in its fourth leasing round and extended the tender deadlines 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 1.34GW in 2010 to 9.97GW 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% 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 work at project sites.
“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.”