Covid-19 weekly updates: 30 March-3 April

With coronavirus (Covid-19) dominating headlines, Windpower Monthly has set up a live blog to bring you the latest on how the pandemic is impacting the sector. Here are five key developments from the last week.

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has hit supply chains and forced companies to reconsider strategies (pic credit: World Health Organisation)
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has hit supply chains and forced companies to reconsider strategies (pic credit: World Health Organisation)

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Spanish lockdown

The Spanish government became the latest to order a nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the virus.

Manufacturers including Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) and Vestas are among those to have halted most production at their Spanish facilities to comply with the order.

However, both companies are maintaining a minimal level of operations to prepare for returning to full output.

The Spanish lockdown currently lasts until 9 April.

Brazilian tenders

Brazil’s energy regulator has indefinitely postponed power auctions scheduled for 2020.

The country had planned to hold six tenders this year, for both new and existing power plants, with a range of technologies — including wind — eligible to compete.

Dutch auction

Vattenfall — which had secured zero-subsidy contracts for two Dutch offshore wind farms in previous tenders — announced it will not participate in the Netherlands’ next round.

It explained that it is prioritising electricity production and delivering current projects amid the pandemic.

The Netherlands opened bidding for the 700MW Hollandse Kust Noord site this week, with the auction due to run until 30 April.

Previous participants in the country’s offshore wind tenders — including Engie, Ørsted, and Shell  declined to comment on if they would participate.

South African curtailment

The South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) is considering legal action after state-owned utility Eskom proposed curtailment of wind farms amid reduced power demand.

The utility claimed operators should not suffer financially as they will be “afforded one day of relief for every day, or part thereof, of lost production”, it stated.

But Sawea contests Eskom’s argument that the reduced power demand is a force majeure event.

The trade body is now seeking legal counsel and plans to approach the utility to reach a resolution.

UN climate talks

The COP26 climate change conference due to take place in Scotland in November has been postponed until 2021.

Representatives of the UN’s Conference of the Parties (COP) bureau, and the UK and Italian governments made the decision this week, but have not yet decided on a rescheduled date.

COP26 was due to take place in the SEC venue in Glasgow, which is being repurposed into a temporary field hospital to treat patients suffering from Covid-19.

For updates on how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the wind power industry, please follow Windpower Monthly's blog.

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