The coronavirus outbreak could slash Chinese wind installations by up to half in 2020, with the US market at greatest risk of damage outside China itself, said research group WoodMackenzie.
The national movement lockdown in place to contain the virus in the world's biggest wind market has already cut annual output of key components such as blades and bearings by 10%, its analysts reckon, with others such as generators and convertors at risk the longer the measures continue.
The most optimistic scenario of containment and a resumption of production by March, or a worst-case in which supplies are hit well into the year, will result in a 10%-50% fall in 2020 installations that Wood Mackenzie originally expected to total 28GW.
The research group, which had already predicted impacts from coronavirus on China’s solar and battery storage sector, said the US is the wind power market at next greatest risk from the production squeeze on the world’s industrial manufacturing powerhouse.
Like China, project developers in the US are already straining to meet 2020 installation deadlines for government incentives, and are already facing “a myriad of supply bottlenecks”.
Wood Mackenzie said “6GW of installations targeting 2020 Commercial Operation Day were identified as at-risk before the outbreak, requiring Internal Revenue Service exemptions to maintain access to 100% value of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). This number is now likely to grow”.
Elsewhere in Asia-Pacific, Wood Mackenzie reckons the direct impact on wind markets is so far minimal, but they “will need to lean on their domestic supply chains or imports from other low-cost regions such as India, Vietnam, and Southern Europe”.
Recharge reported on Friday how Siemens Gamesa plans to develop India as a wind hub to reduce reliance on China, as it and fellow OEM giant Vestas begin to ramp back up production in their Chinese factories.
The CEO of Vestas said earlier in February that a prolonged coronavirus shutdown in China would be a “pandemic force majeure” for the global wind sector.