Pandemic Disrupts Growing Wind Industry

Image: Sam Forson/Pexels

by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer

The pandemic has created massive supply chain problems across industries, including for the growing wind energy business. According to reporting by the New York Times, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that the pandemic could threaten a total of $35 billion in investment and about 35,000 jobs this year.

In the early days of the pandemic, the wind industry was growing at the same time that oil and gas companies were struggling financially. Now, Covid impacts have caught up with the industry. For one wind farm in Nebraska profiled by the Times, the pandemic has meant missing parts, shipping delays, and workers contracting the virus. When completed, it will have the capacity to power more than 100,000 homes, increasing Nebraska’s share of electricity from wind over 20%. However, developers are now worried about meeting year-end deadlines to finish projects and avoid cost overruns. 

Why This Matters: As we move through and emerge from the pandemic, we must prioritize the transition to clean energy. Legislation and policy play an important role. The federal stimulus bill this spring didn’t offer much support for renewable energy, a missed opportunity to accelerate away from fossil fuels. Future legislation should help wind — and sustainable energy sources — come out of this turbulent time with the most stable grounding possible to complete projects already in progress and begin new ones. Legislation like the Green New Deal would provide this kind of support for the industry, both fighting climate change and providing jobs. 

Clean Energy Savings: Supporting a transition to clean energy also passes on savings to individual households. A recent study by Rewiring America found that homes in the US could save up to $2,500 a year if their energy came entirely from wind and solar. Ramping up to 100% renewable energy nationwide would collectively save Americans as much as $321 billion in energy costs. “If we electrify everything, the savings are more than enough to return money to households,” said Adam Zurofsky, executive director of Rewiring America told the Guardian. “Too often we are told doing the right thing for the environment requires sacrifice and costs more. But no one is talking about the upside – we can actually make a better economy and save people money and a byproduct will be to cut emissions from residential buildings.”



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