The global wind power boom is facing a sharp slowdown as coronavirus restrictions hit supply chains, threatening projects with delay or even cancellation.
Worldwide disruption from measures to slow the pandemic has led to component shortages at companies including Vestas and Siemens Gamesa, putting as much as 30 gigawatts of new capacity at risk in the US, China, and Europe this year alone, industry bodies say.
The wind energy industry had been expecting a bumper 2020 as developers raced to complete projects before a year-end lapse of subsidies in China and the US, with 76.7GW of new projects due to come online – a 24 percent increase from the previous year, according to energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
But the supply chain bottlenecks have left 16GW of new wind power capacity in the US, 4.6GW in Europe, and 10GW in China at risk of delay this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association, Wind Europe, and the Global Wind Energy Council.
Independent consultancies have already downgraded their 2020 forecasts for new capacity this year by up to 9GW.
The supply chain delays have created a shortage of turbine blades, gearbox bearings, and logistical equipment such as cranes, analysts say, exacerbating problems in a network that was already stretched to meet breakneck growth in demand.