The European wind sector is already seeing knock-on delays from the global coronavirus outbreak, with more impacts likely as infections rise on the continent, said the industry’s main lobbying group there.

WindEurope said the wind industry is among many other industrial sectors hit by lost production in China, the effects of which are “already visible” elsewhere.

While early analysis suggests that Covid-19 will “have moderate effects on international supply chains for wind energy”, WindEurope said the early stage of the outbreak in Europe means “it is too soon to judge its impact on production and revenues in the sector. However, the first logistical delays in the supply chain can be observed already”.

“As the number of infections rises, the European wind industry is likely to be impacted.”

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “With Covid-19 we are likely to see delays in the development of new wind farm projects which could cause developers to miss the deployment deadlines in countries’ auction systems and face financial penalties.

“Governments should be flexible on how they apply their rules. And if ongoing auctions are undersubscribed because developers can’t bid in time, governments should award what they can and auction the non-awarded volumes at a later stage.”

Dickson’s comments came as Spain, home to a significant chunk of the production capacity of global wind turbine OEM Siemens Gamesa, joined Italy in declaring a general lockdown amid rising concern over the spread of the virus.

Analysts at BloombergNEF said last week there was “considerable downside risk” to its earlier forecasts for global wind deployment in 2020.