Wind power grew markedly in 2019, but experts expect much slower going for the industry this year. A report by the Global Wind Energy Council, an industry trade group, concluded that 2020 will see less growth, owing mostly to insufficient infrastructure.
Global wind-energy capacity grew by 60 gigawatts last year, representing a 10% increase, which is its second-highest annual growth ever, according to the report. The report noted especially strong expansion in China and the United States, and added that wind is now one of the cheapest sources of electricity, and it costs less per unit of power to build and maintain wind turbines than it does to fuel a fossil-fuel plant.
However, that growth may stall due to not enough transmission lines, the report also found. It indicated that U.S. wind generators will need approximately 1,200 miles of new transmission lines to effectively feed their communities’ energy needs, and U.S. federal investment for transmission capacity needs to grow first.
The report foresees single-digit growth this year, and a stable market of slow growth for the next four.
The report does not attribute this year’s anticipated industry slowdown to coronavirus—it was published in January before the virus went global. But the pandemic has caused disruptions in many other industries, and the association states in a recent press release states that the wind industry may suffer further from it as well.
“This forecast will undoubtedly be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, due to disruptions to global supply chains and project execution in 2020. However, it is too soon to predict the extent of the virus’s impact on the wider global economy and energy markets,” the release reads.