Renewable energy will show "resilience" to coronavirus pandemic

Dubai’s ICD faces ‘adjustment’ in wake of pandemic downturn

Lockdown measures implemented by governments around the world have led to supply chain disruption and a slowdown in construction activity, as well as emerging financial challenges in the global renewables market, the IEA said.

Growth for 2020 and 2021 combined is expected to be 10% lower than the IEA had previously forecast before the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, both the United States and China are expected to boost their renewable capacity this year and next, as firms rush to complete projects before the expiry of government incentives.

It added that despite government efforts to strengthen the performance of discoms, the pending payments due to all electricity generators increased by 48 per cent in 2019, and nearly doubled in the case of renewables generators, a trend that continued in the first quarter of 2020.

Renewables are the only fuel source with a forecasted demand increase in 2020.

In the agency's Renewable Market Update report, it shows that globally there will be 167GW of renewable power capacity added in 2020, a 13% drop from 2019.

Next year, renewable power additions are forecast to rebound to the level reached in 2019, as delayed projects come online and assuming a continuation of supportive government policies.

In terms of technology, solar photovoltaic (PV) will see more than half of expected expansion in 2020 and 2021, but deployment will fall from 110 GW in 2019 to over 90 GW this year.

While large scale solar projects will rebound by 2021 however, distributed solar PV will be "significantly slower" as households and small businesses hit by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic will have to review investment plans.

"The resilience of renewable electricity to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis is good news but can not be taken for granted", said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA's executive director.

"The resilience of renewable electricity to the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis is good news but cannotbe taken for granted", said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, in a statement accompanying the report.

In particular, residential solar is set to take longer than other renewables like offshore wind to rebound following the COVID-19 lockdown. "Governments must not lose sight of the essential task of stepping up clean energy transitions to enable us to emerge from the crisis on a secure and sustainable path".

"Putting emissions into a structural decline needed renewables to grow much faster across all sectors even before the COVID-19 crisis", the report said.

"But continuing cost declines will not be enough to protect renewables from a range of uncertainties that are being exacerbated by Covid-19".

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on renewables extends well beyond the electricity sector.

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