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Coronavirus: A timeline of how the deadly COVID-19 outbreak is evolving

4:09 pm

US to review reliance on critical minerals supply from overseas

President Biden signed the executive order on Wednesday to review the four key global supply chains in order to avoid shortages in semiconductors, medical equipment, and other goods considered critical during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The review comes amidst fears that American industries are relying too much on foreign suppliers, particularly coming from China.

The order will also start yearlong reviews into the six sectors: energy, food production, information technology, defence, public health, and transport, to determine their reliance on foreign imports.

According to a White House official, the reviews will be “modelled after the process the Defence Department uses to regularly evaluate and strengthen the defence industrial base”.

The White House has also said that for now it is not “taking anything off the table,” as the strategies to fix the supply chains will depend on the identified shortages.

An administration official told American political journalism company Politico: “Clearly we are looking at the risks posed by dependence on competitor nations, but that is only one of a range of risks we are looking at.”

The news comes as auto producers across the US stumble upon a global shortage in semiconductors, the computer chips used in almost every piece of technology we use, which caused great disruption for car makers.

The threats to the battery supply chain also became visible after Ford and Volkswagen informed the US Government that they would have to delay production of new electric vehicle lines if Korean battery supplier SK Innovation was banished for intellectual property theft.

Biden’s order builds on the efforts of the administration of former President Trump to make US industry more reliant on domestic production.

Biden’s is now focussing on the semiconductor industry, as China saw new heights with its output of integrated circuits surging by 16.2% in 2020, a sharp increase from the 7.2% rise in 2019, according to the professional services network PwC.

The order will contribute to Biden’s long-term foreign policy plan to compete against China’s dominant position in supply chains.

10:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indonesian government renegotiates 35GW project – Grenergy Renovables connects two Peruvian wind farms

8 January

The Indonesian government is preparing to renegotiate the terms of construction for a 35GW power project, involving 210 individual power plants. Work was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Contracts for the project have already been ratified, and the government has committed to completing the large-scale project. In August last year, the operational capacity of the project reached 8.4GW, which is 24% of the project’s total capacity. The project is set to be fully commissioned in 2023.

Grenergy Renovables has connected two wind farms, Duna and Huambos, to Peru’s electricity grid. Grenergy was awarded the projects, with a combined capacity of 36.6MW, during a renewable energy auction held in 2016. The projects form part of the South American nation’s plan to achieve 60% of its electricity from clean energy by 2025.

US-based residential solar company Freedom Forever will expand its business to 20 states by the end of year. The company initially began operations in eight US states in 2020. It will also increase the number of employees by more than 65% in 2020.

10:02 am

Coronavirus company news summary – India electricity sector expects bounce back – Bhutan’s hydropower generation rises by 31% in 2020

7 January

The electricity sector in India will bounce back in the 2022 financial year, credit rating agency IRCA predicts. The industry is projected to expand by 6% to 7%, while use of thermal power plants is expected to reach 57% to 58%. The agency estimates this will increase from the 53% to 54% use rate in financial year 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic had no negative effect on Bhutan’s hydropower sector, as energy generated through hydropower increased by 31% in 2020 according to Druk Green Power Corp. The cumulative power produced from the six currently operating hydropower stations stood at 11,363GWh last year, compared with 8,645GWh in 2019. The power generation increase is thanks to abundant rainfall and commencement of operations at the Mangdechhu project.

Looking back at 2020, Wood Mackenzie and the US Energy Storage Association have said installations of battery energy storage doubled, primarily due to new projects in California. At the same time, solar energy generation increased by 60% in Spain, according to country’s grid manager Red Electric, and a Chinese industry group has said installations doubled last year. In Australia, 29% of homes now have rooftop solar power, presenting grid balancing issues for energy distributors.

10:00 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Asian renewables predicted to exceed 1,500GW by 2030 – Ørsted completes cable works for Hornsea Two

6 January

Electricity demand in Singapore will bounce back in 2021, according to the country’s second energy minister. The Southeast Asian city-state’s power demand dropped by around 2% to 4% during the pandemic in 2020. While natural gas generates 95% of electricity generated in Singapore, solar power capacity in the country has expanded in the last decade, as the current government aims for solar to generate 3% of consumption by 2030.

US credit rating agency Fitch Solutions has predicted solar and offshore wind generation in Asia will more than double by the end of decade, surpassing 1,500GW. Solar power is considered the main driver of growth in the Asian renewables segment, as China is expected add more than 263GW of capacity over the next decade. India and Japan are expected to follow suit, increasing their solar capacity by 78GW and 35GW respectively.

Ørsted has announced the completion of cable laying for its Hornsea Two offshore wind farm. The company contracted VolkerInfra to lay 350km of cable across 39km of northeast UK. Reinstatement works on the cable will continue into mid-2021, as construction continues on the 1.4GW wind farm. When fully commissioned, Hornsea will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UK biomass rises in 2020 – Analysis suggests 50% of German energy sourced from renewables in 2020

5 January

Biomass-fired power production in the UK increased last year, along with the fuel’s share in the nation’s electricity mix. This comes despite an overall drop in power prices and total grid demand, according to data from utility Drax and Imperial College London. Biomass power output rose by 8.3% in 2020, reaching 19.45TWh. This compares with 17.96TWh in the previous year. UK power prices rebounded in Q3 and Q4, after demand declined following the imposition of pandemic-related lockdowns.

Renewable energy supplied 50% of electricity used by Germany’s national grid during the coronavirus pandemic. Analysis by Berlin-based think tank Agora Energiewende says this enabled the country to achieve its 2020 climate targets. Carbon emissions from Germany stood at 772Mt in 2020, 82Mt lower than that of previous year. This is the equivalent of a 10% drop in emissions. The analysis says the country would have reduced its emissions by 38% if the Covid-19 pandemic had not occurred.

Four renewable power plants in Peru commenced commercial operations last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The four plants include two wind farms, one hydroelectric plant and a biomass thermal plant. The total installed capacity of the four plants is 58MW, with a total construction investment of $98m.

9:30 am

Coronavirus company news summary – German solar installations continue rise – US relief bill offers tax credit extensions

4 January

Germany’s solar capacity increased by 14.5% in November 2020, with the addition of 481MW of solar power installations. This compares with 420MW of installations added in October. The country added approximately 1.22GW of new photovoltaic installations during Q3 2020, a 34% rise from the corresponding period in 2019. Germany’s solar projects installations reached 1.25GW in second quarter.

A US Covid-19 relief bill passed last week will provide tax incentives to industries including renewable energy and technology sectors. The bill extends the sunset phase of federal tax credits for the development and operation of renewable energy generation facilities. The new law also offers eligibility extensions for tax benefits, which are applicable to other ‘green’ technologies.

The US renewable energy industry, including solar and wind power, has expanded during the Covid-19 pandemic so far. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected renewable electricity to be the only power source that will grow in 2020. The agency has also predicted that solar generation will overtake the global power industry within the next two decades. The IEA estimates that global energy demand will fall by 5% in 2020, compared to 2019.

10:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – African Development Bank approves $50m for energy-access Covid-19 relief – Indian distributors see guarantees fall

11 December

The African Development Bank has pledged $50m to enable energy-access companies to deal with the impact of Covid-19. The bank’s board of directors approved the $20m concessional investment from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa to launch an off-grid recovery platform. The combined $50m investment will ease financial pressures for energy access firms, and support them during and beyond the pandemic.

The Power Grid Corporation of India has laid out performance guidelines decreasing its bank guarantee for power transmission projects. Currently, projects must pay 10% of the contract price, which would fall to 3% under the new system. The decision was taken to help entities implement their contracts and projects faster. The new rule is applicable to all of the corporation’s power transmission bids and contracts issued before the end of 2021.

Swiss utility company Axpo has reported that its pre-tax earnings in the financial year to September 2020 stood at $877m. This compares with $957m recorded in the year prior. The pandemic’s effect on electricity demand was counterbalanced byhigher hedged power prices and the positive results from energy trading. The company’s solar capacity rose to 373MW, up from 249MW in 2019. During the 2021 financial year, the company expects a further expansion of 250MW.

The average production at Cameroon’s Kribi thermal power plant fell 41% by the end of October, reaching 127.6MW in the January-October period. This is 59.07% of the plant’s nominal capacity of 216MW. A decline in gas supplies due to the Covid-19 pandemic and cash crunch issues adversely affected power output.

The Consumer Council of Missouri has sought an emergency order to continue the operations of utilities throughout the winter season, to suppress the spread of coronavirus. The council says a regular supply of power and water has proved to be a major factor in containing Covid-19. Coronavirus cases registered a 3% drop when people did not venture out of their homes to warming centres, thereby reducing physical contact.

10:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Renewable power investment in developing nations remains down – 446,000 US clean energy workers unemployed

10 December

Clean energy projects in emerging markets saw less overseas investment in 2020, after record investment of $432bn last year. Because of Covid-19 and its related economic struggle, investors have opted for low-risk markets, according to BloombergNEF analysis. Clean energy markets attracted large investments in 2019 due to the cost effectiveness of solar and wind.

Power consumption in the New England region of the US will fall by 1.5% in winter, according to the state’s network operator. The rising number of coronavirus cases is expected to push the government to reimpose lockdown restrictions, forcing people to remain indoors during the season.

The clean energy sector in US currently has more than 446,000 workers unemployed, accounting for 13% of total workforce. The ongoing pandemic has slowed the recovery in job opportunities, according to an analysis of unemployment filings by BW Research Partnership. Around 70% of the workers who lost their jobs since March still have no job, with only 8,000 jobs added in the industry last month. The employment in the sector is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

10:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US power consumption falls 4% in 2020 – European PPAs surge ahead through Covid-19

9 December

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said power consumption in the US will fall by 3.9% in 2020. This comes as a result of offices shutting and factories operating at reduced capacity due to Covid-19-related lockdowns. Power demand is predicted to decline to 3,801TWh this year, down from 3,957TWh in 2019. In 2021, the EIA predicts it will reach 3,849 TWh. The fall in power demand this year will be the first demand decline for two straight years in almost a decade.

The council in charge of planning a 37-acre solar panel project in Connecticut, US, has postponed their decision to April 2021. The Siting Council was granted a three-month extension on the deadline to take a decision on the project in Southington. An executive order has permitted state agencies to postpone regulatory time requirements, taking into consideration the pandemic related disruptions.

The amount of corporate electricity sourced from renewable energy continued to rise in Europe during the onset of coronavirus pandemic. The cumulative volume of contracted corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Europe hit the 11GW mark, compared to 2.2GW four years ago. In this year alone, European PPAs covered an additional 3GW of renewable generation.

The electricity demand in India fell by 25% to 30% during the pandemic’s emergence. Along with a decrease in tariff collection and slow rate of recovery, this has pushed distribution companies toward financial distress. The share of renewable energy, however, increased from 19% in March to 30% by June.

10:21 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nigerian government begins solar roll out – Centrica looks to sell North Sea business

8 December

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has urged its members to intensify efforts for a green recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. While some nations have taken steps to increase their use of renewables, most countries have yet to take action.

The Nigerian government has started its Solar Power Naija project, as part of its Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to aid economic recovery. The initiative aims to offer five million solar connections, providing electricity to roughly 25 million people citizens with no access to grid power. The programme will bring in an additional revenue of $18m per year, in the form of tax revenues and $10m in annual import substitution.

UK utility giant Centrica has restarted talks to sell its controlling stake in oil and gas extraction business Spirit Energy. A spokesperson for the utility told Bloomberg it was in talks with “a number of parties”, but it had not restarted the official sale process yet. Analysts have valued the steak at more than $1.8bn, down from the $2bn it was asking in April. Sales were suspended during the middle the year due to the slump in oil prices. Centrica is looking to divest the company in order to focus on its power supply business.

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indian discoms’ power dues increase by 29% – Covid-19 to add to New York’s winter woes

7 December

The total dues distribution companies owe to power producers in India surged over 29% to $18.7bn in October, compared with $14.4bn in the corresponding period in 2019. The discoms are generally given a 45 day window to clear the outstanding bills, after which generators levy penal interest on companies. The Indian government made some relaxations this year vis-à-vis payment of dues considering the economic slump triggered by coronavirus pandemic related lockdown.

New York is bracing for the winter season’s power disruptions, which are expected to be exacerbated by ongoing pandemic as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the state. Emergency response teams are coming up with contingency plans in case of power disruptions. Utilities are isolating important workers to ensure their safety, as they will play a pivotal role in resolving production and supply issues that could arise during the upcoming season.

10:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IEA report shows stall in energy efficiency advances – Vietnam government proposes feed-in tariff extension

4 December

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global rate of energy efficiency improvement has reached its lowest in a decade. This comes as a result of lower energy demand encouraging low fuel prices. Alongside this, factors including a slump in the aviation industry and plummeting automobile sales contributed to the decline. The pandemic-induced economic slump may act as a catalyst for transitioning to renewable energy and reducing carbon footprint. Read more here.

Utility customers across the US owe around $35bn to $40bn of debt because of financial difficulties following the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic crisis has forced both residential and commercial business customers to defer payments. State regulators have not yet decided on how utility customers can clear the unpaid bills. Customers were granted a moratorium on payment of power bills earlier in the year.

The Vietnamese government’s newly proposed Feed-in-Tariff extension is expected to decrease prices of wind development, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The council believes the tariff could lower prices of onshore and intertidal wind power by 17.4% and 13.6% respectively. The tariff extension would compensate for permitting postponements, triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. These postponements mean Vietnam will fall 41% short of its wind power capacity target of 800MW. The council proposes a 180 day-extension on the present tariff, followed by marginal decreases starting in May 2022.

10:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IEA report encourages transition of heating network – Wind and solar generation rise continues

3 December

A new report from has said nations should prioritise transitioning their heating systems in order to meet climate change goals and strengthen their economies. The report was prepared by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). The report says the shift to sustainable heating and cooling systems will help in generation millions of jobs and accelerate global economic recovery.

Global electricity generation from wind and solar plants rose in the first six months of 2020, despite the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. Both sectors accounted for 10% of total power generated worldwide between January and June 2020.

The Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) has advised its members to use assistance provided by the state government to help them clear unpaid utility bills. The relief has been offered to residents, businesses, and non-profits who are unable to pay utility bills, due to Covid-19-induced financial difficulties. While residential applicants must provide proof of financial hardship, companies need to show evidence of a 50% decline in revenue for at least one month since the onset of pandemic in March.

10:46 am

Coronavirus company news summary – German solar installations rise – European Energy acquires green methanol producer

2 December

Solar installations in Germany rose by 421MW in October, up 12% from 376MW in the corresponding period in 2019. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the country added roughly 3.5GW of solar capacity between January and September. This represents a 17% growth over the same period last year. Germany’s cumulative solar installations reached 53.18GW in October.

Danish green energy developer European Energy has acquired power-to-X company Reintegrate for an undisclosed amount. The two companies will work to create a green methanol production line in Denmark. European Energy has also signed four contracts with Siemens Gamesa, for the latter to supply turbines to wind farms in Sweden and Poland.

US president elect Joe Biden may face opposition when trying to abolish tax breaks for US oil and gas producers, Reuters has reported. Biden’s presidential campaign promised to use funds for tax breaks to instead fuel a green energy transition. However, politicians from both large US parties could block legislation from passing through the US Senate.

10:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – DNV-GL encourages governments to support new technologies – Victoria allocates $399m to renewables

1 December

A report from risk management firm DNV-GL says world governments must use renewable generation to meet their Paris Agreement targets. It adds that governments should provide support for new and emerging renewable energy technologies to meet the goals. With the report, DNV-GL analysts called for greater cross-sector collaboration, and for businesses to encourage skills that could be used in the energy transition.

The government of Victoria, Australia, has set aside $399m (A$540m) for the establishment of six renewable energy zones across the state. The state government earmarked $1.18 (A$1.6bn) in funding as part of its 2020/21 budget for renewables, energy efficiency and decarbonisation projects. Victoria aims to source 50% of its electricity from renewable generation by the end of the decade.

The power consumption in India is projected to grow substantially as the country’s population increases and its economy develops, according to analysts speaking to PowerMag. The country will consume 11% of total energy generated globally over the next two decades. Energy demand across the country is expected to grow over coming years, even as the global demand declines. Indian power consumption rose by 13.38% in October compared to the same period in 2019, as Covid-19-related lockdown restrictions eased.

10:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IRENA collaborates with Pacific nations’ renewable drive – Ørsted completes Borssele wind farms

30 November 2020

The renewable energy sector in India witnessed a slowdown in the first half of the 2021 financial year due to a Covid-19-induced economic slump. However, renewable capacity will increase in the third quarter of the next financial year, as pandemic-related lockdown restrictions lift. The overall renewable capacity will then expand by 7.5GW to 8GW.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Pacific Community (SPC) have announced plans to collaborate. The agency will support Pacific island nations as they shift to renewable energy as part of their post-Covid-19 recovery. Around two-thirds of Pacific island residents do not have access to reliable energy, as the region predominantly sources electricity from fossil fuels. Both IRENA and SPC aim to decrease energy costs and enhance energy security by transitioning to renewables.

Danish renewable energy developer Ørsted has commissioned the Borssele 1 & 2 offshore wind farm. The wind farm lies off the coast of the Zeeland province of the Netherlands. Construction on the 752MW wind farm was continued through the coronavirus pandemic, with 94 turbines installed across nine months. Borssele is the second largest offshore wind farm in the world, capable of providing electricity to one million households in Holland.

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Asia-Pacific steel demand falls by 9%

27 November

The distributed renewable energy sector registered a 17% growth in FY2020, compared with the last year, as 62% of the businesses reported an increase in revenue. Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 86% of firms in the sector met their revenue estimate.

Norwich Public Utilities reported that its revenues in 2020 rose, despite being lower than the budget estimates prepared before Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in March. The projected revenue of $26.9m for the December 1 to January 31 period is expected to fall short by $1.19m, registering a 4.4% decline. The revenues from residential complexes increased during the pandemic, while those from businesses and commercial establishments declined.

Spanish oil and gas firm Repsol is planning to spend $6.55bn on low-carbon electricity generation during the next five years, predominantly to increase renewable energy capacity. The company is targeting to reach 5.2GW of renewables in 2025 and 12.7GW by the end of the decade. Repsol is expecting to recover from the damage caused by Covid-19 pandemic from 2022.

Power utility SSE and oil major Equinor signed an agreement to spend $8.02bn on the construction of the first two phases of Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, the world’s biggest wind project. The first phase is expected to be commissioned in 2023, while the next phase will commence operations a year later. The investment and construction on the project will create employment and help the local economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic induced slump.

9:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – India’s solar sector investments surge

26 November

The investment in India’s solar industry increased by 170% in September quarter reaching around $270m, compared with $100m in the second quarter, even as the investments dropped 69% from $1.56bn in Q3 2019. The growth in solar investments is attributed to the lifting of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions, which helped the industry to bounce back and triggered a rise in solar installations.

The overall installed solar PV capacity in France reached 10.2GW in September, with roughly 283MW of capacity connected to the grid in the third quarter. The power generated from solar energy accounted for 4.46TWh in the third quarter, marginally rising from 4.43TWh produced in the previous quarter. The French government apportioned $35.5bn for the green energy sector as part of its France Relaunching plan, implemented to revive the economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ugandan government has set aside $107m to uplift solar and cookstove companies from the economic slump induced by Covid-19 pandemic. The money was mobilised as part of Covid-19 economic relief fund to support these firms and maintain progress made in the off-grid solar industry. The measure was taken as most of the businesses in the sector are going through a financial slump, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

9:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australia among top three renewables investment destinations

25 November

The 635MW power plant located in Rensselaer in New York State is bearing the brunt of ongoing pandemic and the state’s carbon-emission and renewable energy policies. The gas-fired power plant lacks financial feasibility, as its owner Empire Generating, which underwent restructuring last year, reported a fall in revenues owing to a host of factors.

Australia has now landed a place in the elite group of the top three most valued nations in the world for investment into renewable energy, thanks to the rapid increase in solar PV installations during the pandemic. Australia moved to third from the fourth place in May, according to EY’s bi-annual index. While the US retained the top spot, India jumped three places from seventh to fourth, thanks to lower tariff bids and a revised target for renewables generation.

The power sector in India is bearing the brunt of Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered a slump in prices and reduced demand across the country. The prospects for the electricity industry remain gloomy, predominantly due to uncertainty regarding power demand and lack of clarity on the future of renewable power projects, which were suspended due to the ongoing pandemic.

9:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – India sets a new record in solar auction

24 November

The cost of large-scale solar projects in India reached $466,468/MW in the third quarter, declining by 8% from $507,031/MW recorded in the corresponding period in 2019. The average large-scale solar costs rose during the quarter because of a surge in module prices owing to glass shortage, supply problems and Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) held an auction for solar projects of 1,070MW capacity, which saw the lowest price hit $0.0270/kWh. The price is 15.3% less than the previous lowest price of $0.0319/kWh registered during June auction. The industries across the globe are expecting reduced interest rates owing to Covid-19 pandemic and looking at interest rates of 7.75% or lower during the current auction.

The European Commission has come up with a plan to support the European Union in realising its climate neutrality goal by 2050. The commission plans to expand offshore wind capacity from the current 12GW to 60GW by the end of decade and 300GW by 2050. The body aims to increase domestic output to attain climate goals, meet the rapidly increasing electricity demand and stabilise the economy, which was battered by the ongoing pandemic.

9:21 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australian state of Victoria to fund solar programme

23 November

Global institutional investors are considering a two-fold increase in the allocation of funds towards the renewable energy sector from the current 4.2% to 8.3% in the next five years. The investment in the sector is expected to further increase to 10.8% by the end of the decade as Covid-19 pandemic expedited shift from fossil fuels. The planned investment in renewables is expected to reach $742.5bn during the next decade with 80% of institutions contemplating investment into renewables.

The Australian state of Victoria is providing $797m to support its citizens in paying electricity bills and making households energy efficient, as customers paid exorbitant amounts for power during the Covid-19 pandemic. The state government will also grant $191m for expansion of its solar homes programme, which aims to provide 42,000 additional solar rebates to 140,000 homes for installation of rooftop solar panels.

The large-scale solar installations in India in the third quarter plunged by 85% to 283MW, compared with 1,932MW of installations during the same period in 2019. From January to September, the solar installations stood at 1.73GW, falling 68% from 5.48GW of additions in the corresponding period last year.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Canadian Solar sees material costs hit profits – Indian solar growth recovers

20 November

Solar manufacturer Canadian Solar has projected its fourth quarter profits to decline due to supply shortage and doubling of material costs after global Covid-19 restrictions lifted. Supply scarcity for glass, polysilicon and EVA materials will directly affect the company’s revenue.

India’s solar capacity grew by 438MW in the third quarter, recording a 114% increase from 205MW during the previous quarter. However, the added capacity sits 80% lower than the 2.2GW added in the corresponding period in 2019. The solar sector made a recovery because of economic activities resuming after the lifting of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions across the country.

The Indian renewable energy sector witnessed a 75% increase in mergers and acquisitions in 2020. The current year saw M&A transactions in the renewables sector reach $2bn, a substantial growth from $1.2bn in 2019.

10:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – SSE plans to increase renewable generation by three times – Vestas lays off 200 workers

19 November

Electricity consumption in UK dropped by 20% to 30% during the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown. In the same period, the generation share of renewables rose substantially. Thanks to the reduced consumption, the UK registered a low-carbon intensity for power output of 21g of CO₂ per kWH during the lockdown period.

UK-based energy firm SSE plans to increase its renewable energy production by three-fold by the end of decade. It believes investment into low-carbon infrastructure will enable the country to recover from the ongoing pandemic crisis. The company has started building the world’s largest offshore wind farm in North Sea, as part of its plan to invest roughly $10bn in clean energy in the country.

Wind turbine maker Vestas will lay off 200 workers operating at its blade factory in Colorado in mid-January next year. The company expects market volumes in US to diminish in the near future. The job cuts will reduce the workforce at Brighton factory to about 300. Previously, Vestas also halted production of V136 blades at the factory owing to demand slump for the turbine design.

10:02 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Equinor forecast 15% fall in global energy demand – Tennessee Valley authority registers 151TWh sales

18 November

Norwegian energy giant Equinor said that worldwide energy demand fell by 15% in 2020 compared with last year. It also predicts that carbon emissions related to global energy will never return to pre-pandemic levels. According to the company’s ‘Energy Perspectives’ report, wind energy would need to expand by nine times to meet its clean electricity demand and global environmental and sustainability goals set for 2050.

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s operating revenue has reached $10.2bn on the back of electricity sales of 151TWh. Sales registered a marginal drop of 5% compared with 2019, owing to the ongoing pandemic causing a demand slump. Operating revenue declined by 9% from 2019, predominantly due to decreased effective base rates and diminished revenue from fuel cost recovery.

GP Joule reported that construction on the 25.4MW Innisfail solar project in Alberta has finished on time, despite extensive precautions taken during installation to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The company collaborated with Elemental Energy, a renewable energy developer, and other stakeholders to work on the merchant solar farm. The project generated more than 100 local construction jobs.

10:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Minnesota Power advances clean energy strategy – Earnings increase for Sterling and Wilson Solar and Encavis

17 November

Indian engineering and construction provider Sterling and Wilson Solar reported that its third quarter revenue rose by 12% to $179.07m. This compares to $159.9m revenue for the same period in 2019. The company’s net profit for the quarter stood at $2.02m, plunging 81% from the $10.64m it earned in the corresponding period last year.

Utility firm Minnesota Power plans to advance its $40m energy strategy to generate energy free of carbon emissions, to accelerate the state’s recovery from Covid-19 induced economic slump. The company urged the state utility commission to approve its plan of constructing 20MW of solar arrays in the region. A company spokesperson said the solar farms would create jobs, power thousands of homes and add $16m to the gross regional product of 2021.

German wind and solar operator Encavis reported that its raw operating earnings (EBITDA) from January to September 2020 stood at $214m, compared with $205.4m for the same period last year. The ongoing pandemic did not affect power generation at its plants, even as the company confirmed its full year projections. Encavis’ revenue increased by 5% to $259m, thanks to the acquisition of wind parks in Denmark last year.

Indian power demand during the first fortnight of November increased by 7.8% to 50,159TWh, compared with the corresponding period in 2019. The rise in consumption is attributed to resumption of economic and commercial activity after easing of Covid-19 lockdowns. This is the third consecutive month where the electricity demand rose on a year-on-year basis.

10:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – EDF Renewables shows $2bn sales slump from pandemic – SMA Solar Technology reports inverter sales rise

16 November

The corona virus pandemic hurt the sales of French utility EDF Renewables by $2.36bn between January and September, although the company’s performance improved in the third quarter of 2020. Revenue for the third quarter stood at $16.7bn, a 1.8% fall from the same period in 2019. Over the period, the coronavirus pandemic diminished electricity demand and suppressed French nuclear energy production.

PV inverter maker SMA Solar Technology reported an improvement in shipments and sales in the September quarter. SMA’s inverter volume sales between January and September were 10.65GW, compared with 7.49GW for the corresponding period in 2019. The company is slowing recovering from the Covid-19 induced demand slump in Q2, which led to suspension of projects across US and Europe. SMA made $308m in sales in Q3, against $317m sales it posted for same period last year.

European battery storage manufacturer Skeleton Technologies raised $48.5m from a group of investors during a financing round. The company has now raised a cumulative capital of more than $108m, and estimates its revenue to triple for a second consecutive year, regardless of the ongoing pandemic. The company sought funding from existing and new industrial investors from across Europe.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Northland Power earnings up 13% on 2019 – India considers decreasing surcharges to power suppliers

12 November

Decommissioning work at a former nuclear plant in Trawsfynydd, UK, was paused after some workers at the site tested positive for coronavirus. The employees were decommissioning nuclear reactors at the plant, which was closed in 1991 after 25 years of operations. The Covid-19-positive employees were asked to self-isolate to ensure safety of others working at the plant.

Canadian energy firm Northland Power has reported that its third quarter raw earnings (EBITDA) rose by 13% year-on-year. Sales for the same period increased by 24%. The company’s adjusted EBITDA reached $195m, affected by the decline in wholesale market price for energy due to Covid-19, which affected its offshore wind revenue. The revenue fall was countered by the income generated from the Deutsche Bucht wind farm in Germany. Northland Power’s full year adjusted EBITDA is projected at $840m to $920m.

Italian renewables company ERG reported that its EBITDA declined by 7% to $117m in the third quarter of 2020, compared to $126m it registered during Q3 2019. A decrease in overseas wind power output, a slump in energy prices, and hostile water conditions all contributed to the fall in EBITDA.

The Ministry of Power in India is considering decreasing the late payment surcharges distribution companies pay to the power generators to reduce their financial burden. Power generation companies would then lose the interest they receive for delayed payments. Surcharge rates have been reduced in several states due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus company news summary – IEA expects record renewable additions in 2020 – TUV Nord certifies largest wind turbine blade

11 November

Wind turbine maker Nordex has revised its annual guidance, projecting its annual consolidated sales to reach $5.2bn. This represents a 33% growth from the same period in 2019. The company previously withdrew its 2020 guidance due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nordex recorded consolidated net sales of $3.7bn from January to September, a 68% growth compared to last year.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said the world will see a record 198GW of new renewable energy capacity this year. This is up 4% growth from 2019, despite the Covid-19 induced economic crisis. The IEA forecasts that renewables will account for 90% of new global power capacity in 2020. Global power generation from renewable energy will increase by 7% in 2020, even as worldwide energy demand fell 5% annually, the biggest drop in more than seven decades.

The electricity consumption in the US will fall by 3.6% in 2020, as lockdown restrictions forced businesses to shut down. Power demand will fall to 2.8m TWh this year, down from 4m TWh. Next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects it to increase to 3.8m TWh. Electricity sales to residential complexes will grow by 2.5% to 1.4m TWh this year, as Covid-19 lockdown led to mobility restrictions.

The world’s longest wind turbine blade of 107m, manufactured by LM Wind Power, has received operational approval from certification body TUV Nord. LM Wind Power manufactured the blade for GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X wind turbine. The Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions forced the lead engineer to guide the team through live streaming.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Pandemic causes French nuclear generation to fall while Indian generation remains above last year

10 November

Nuclear power generation in France declined by 3.3% year-on-year to 28.2TWh last month, owing to the ongoing pandemic and nuclear reactor shutdowns. The total power output from January to October fell by 15.1% to 269.4TWh, down from 317.3TWh over the same period in 2019. October saw a smaller reduction in power output than previous months, but a full recovery was thwarted by new lockdowns introduced last week.

Electricity generation in India grew by 3% during October compared to the year before, even as levels fell compared to the previous month. Between September and October, renewable power demand declined by 12%, while conventional energy recorded a 2% drop for the same period. Demand is slowly returning to normal after the lifting of lockdown, while further easing of restrictions is expected to expand power demand and electricity generation.

Power consumption by commercial establishments in the US dropped by 12% during the second quarter. Industrial consumption declined by 14% during the same period. On the other hand, consumption by households surged by 10% during the second quarter of the year, predominantly due to lockdowns.

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Coronavirus company news summary – SolarEdge Technologies reports 19% profit fall on last year, REC Silicon reports profit growth

9 November

Isreali solar inverter company SolarEdge Technologies reported a 2% increase in revenue during September quarter, reaching $338.1m. This compares to $331.9m revenue in the second quarter of 2020. However, the company’s revenue dropped by 18% from the corresponding period in 2019. The revenue from solar business reached $312.5m, a 1% growth from the $310.1m recorded in the second quarter. On the other hand, this represented a 19% plunge from $387m recorded in third quarter of 2019.

Norwegian polysilicon gas supplier REC Silicon posted a net profit of $30.7m in 2020’s third quarter, compared with the $20.2m loss from the same period in 2019. The company’s third quarter raw eanings (EBITDA) stood at $17.9m, compared with the $5.6m loss it registered during third quarter last year. REC Silicon registered a positive EBITDA during the most recent quarter, despite revenue declining due to lack of income from the solar materials segment, as demand fell and inventory levels rose.

Electricity consumption in Germany dropped last week as the country entered partial lockdown to contain rising coronavirus cases. However, power demand remains above the level of the same point last year. The average power demand in the country last week was 59.83GW, registering a 2% decline from 60.99GW recorded during the previous week. The upkeep of power demand last week despite lockdown is being attributed to temperatures in the country being colder than average.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Australian Granite Hills project suspended – Siemens Gamesa posts loss of more than $1bn

French renewables company Akuo Energy has suspended the 132MW Granite Hills wind project, located in New South Wales, Australia, due to uncertainty from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The company is currently preparing its environmental impact statement for the project.

Wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa posted a net loss of $1.08bn during the current fiscal year, compared with $165m net profit registered in 2019. The company’s revenues slumped by roughly $1.17bn as business activity came to a standstill as projects were postponed amid Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Wind power installations across the world are expected to increase by nearly 20% in 2020, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). A total of 71.3GW of wind power capacity, comprising both offshore and onshore installations, is expected to be added this year. This compares to 60.4GW capacity added in 2019. GWEC estimates 78GW of wind power installations will be added in 2021, partly because of projects postponed due to the pandemic.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Vestas sees profits fall – German solar installations continue rise despite virus

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas registered a 4% fall in operating profit to $482m (€412m) in the third quarter of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. The company posted a revenue of $5,579m (€4,770m) for the period, a 31% growth from last year’s third quarter. Vestas’ EBIT margin dropped to $482m (€412m) a 3.2% drop compared to $502m (€429m) in Q3 2019.

Germany’s solar installations rose by 34% in the third quarter from the corresponding period in 2019, as cumulative power installations reached 52.76GW. The country added roughly 1.22GW of new PV installations for Q3, recording a marginal drop of 2.6% from Q2. The Covid-19 pandemic did not impact Germany’s solar installations as severely as other sectors, and solar capacity continued to increase throughout the lockdown period.

Electricity demand in the US has declined at levels comparable to the initial days of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in April and May, as the country sees a second wave of coronavirus cases. Demand fell by 7% in September, in comparison with the same period between 2016 and 2019. The midwest and southern states recorded the biggest declines, while the national power consumption in 2020 is projected to decline by 2.2% from last year.

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Coronavirus company news summary – JSW Energy achieves $53m profits in Q3 – Wind and solar costs decline by 10%

4 November

Indian power major JSW Energy reported a profit of ₹352 crore ($53m) for the September quarter. The company registered a flat net profit during the third quarter due to reduced power demand caused by the Covid-19 induced lockdown. The short term sales during the period reached 110 million units, compared with 759 million units sales in 2019.

The costs of wind and solar energy registered a drop of more than 10% in 2019, according to Capgemini’s World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report. The report also noted that power consumption across Europe declined due to Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions, while renewables accounted for higher share of electricity transmitted to the grid.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in the share of renewable energy in Germany’s total energy consumption by 2% to 16.8% between January and September. Coal-fired production also declined significantly, even as higher production was achieved from wind and solar energy sources

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Coronavirus company news summary – US extends energy bills assistance – Xcel Energy considers rates increase

Power demand in Italy recovered marginally during Q3, to be on par with 2019 levels. In previous quarters, consumption was reduced by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the recovery is likely to be jeopardised by a second wave of Covid-19 cases leading to reimposition of lockdown restrictions. Power demand reached 251TWh in the first nine months of 2020, despite seeing a slump in the second quarter.

The US’ Covid-19 Utility Grant Program, launched to provide financial relief from power bills to customers affected by the pandemic, has brought low-income citizens of Los Angeles under its purview. The City Council of L.A. agreed to place $50m in federal Covid-19 relief funds to assist people with their bills last week.

Utility company Xcel Energy’s customers in Minnesota, US, could see their electricity bills increase as the company contemplates increasing its electricity rate by $597m. This would represent a 20% increase over the next three years. The company has not yet decided on the action. It also put forward a proposal to extend its current rate plan for another year, as its Covid-19 investment proposal worth $2.5bn is still under the Minnesota regulatory process.

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Coronavirus company news summary – US wind industry records largest annual expansion – UK minister urges offshore wind expansion

The wind industry in the US added an unprecedented 2GW of new installations in the third quarter of 2020. This brought the country’s total wind generation capacity to 112GW, according to the according to the American Wind Energy Association. Ten new wind power plants, with a combined capacity of 1,934MW, commenced operations in nine different states during the quarter. The increased flexibility of tax credit qualification provided by the US Treasury and Internal Revenue Service was said to have helped the wind industry address the challenges posed by the pandemic.

UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said that the UK economy can make a faster recovery from Covid-19 by expanding its offshore wind supply chain. The UK government has previously committed to injecting $207m (£160m) into the wind sector for infrastructure development at UK ports.

Power consumption in India increased to 110.94TWh in October, a 13.38% rise compared to last year. This increase comes predominantly as a result of industrial and commercial activities returning to normal levels. Power demand slumped 24.9% in April after Covid-19 induced lockdown brought the entire country to a standstill. The first fortnight of October saw power consumption grow by 11.45%, or 55.37TWh, compared with 49.67TWh growth recorded for the same period in 2019.

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Coronavirus company news summary – India’s renewable energy share increases – Orsted reports higher-than-expected quarterly profits

29 October

India’s installed power capacity increased to 374.4GW in Q3 from 372.9GW in the previous quarter. The country’s renewable energy share rose to 36.4% for the same period, a minor increase of 0.1% from Q2, owing to the Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions. The renewable installations accounted for 24.2% share in the country’s power mix, standing at 90.6GW by the end of September.

Danish power company Orsted’s third quarter profits exceeded expectations as EBITDA registered a 18% drop to $0.53bn against analysts’ expectations of $0.51bn. The company has retained its 2020 guidance of EBITDA at $2.5bn-$2.7bn despite the impact of the pandemic on its operations. Orsted’s offshore wind projects in the US were postponed owing to delays in permits, even as it is actively investing in the renewable energy sector.

The total number of offshore wind projects being developed across the world increased by 47% since January despite the supply chain disruptions and economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to non-profit organisation RenewableUK. The total capacity of offshore wind projects globally increased from 134.7GW in January to 197.4GW. The UK emerged as the leader in offshore wind with a pipeline of 41.32GW, followed by China at 26.1GW.

US-based solar PV manufacturer First Solar reported a 70% increase in sales in the third quarter to $928m from $285m in the previous quarter. The increase in sales was attributed to increase in international project sales and the number of modules sold to third party companies. First Solar has restored its full-year guidance owing to increase in sales. The company had previously withdrawn the guidance due to the uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Renewables Ministry extends solar module makers’ exemption – Electricity demand to remain subdued after pandemic

28 October

Indian Renewable Energy Ministry extended the exemption for achieving the Bueau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification to solar module manufacturers with a generation capacity of less than 50MW. The exemption is subject to manufacturers obtaining a valid International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification. The announcement was made after the Indian solar industry body raised concerns about the coronavirus pandemic disrupting the industry’s activities.

The Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns are expected to continue to cast a shadow over electricity demand in the US even after normalcy is restored, according to a report from Columbia University. Industrial experts forecast that the domestic and residential power consumption will undergo paradigm shift after the lockdown and restrictions are lifted. Electricity use in the US is expected to remain 1.6% to 4% below 2018 levels.

The rooftop solar installations in Australia during September declined by 57MW compared to the same period in 2019. The rooftop connections in the country gradually increased over the past few years, with the cumulative rooftop capacity touching 12.1GMW in September 2020. Electricity demand continues to be impacted due to the Covid-19 restrictions imposed in Victoria and New South Wales, according Australian Energy Market Operator.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 brings US wind sector to a standstill – Rockfeller Foundation commits $1bn to Covid recovery

27 October

The wind energy market in the US is expected to lose approximately 35,000 jobs and $35bn in investments in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has impacted supply chains and lead to project delays. The industry was growing at 10% a year before the pandemic but the pandemic has led to cancellation or deferment of ongoing projects.

The Northern Ireland parliament, Stormont, has granted $654k (£500,000) in allowances to 52 wind turbine owners in the UK province. Many businesses already received a small business rates relief of $13,000 (£10,000). The Department for the Economy had since declared the wind turbine sector unqualified for grants after paying more than £500,000 ($651,283).

Rockfeller Foundation, a philanthropic organisation, has launched a $1bn Covid recovery fund aimed at increasing investments in grid-scale renewables. The aim of the foundation’s green and inclusive recovery plan is to use the investments to increase renewable energy footprint in underdeveloped economies and provide subsidies for renewables-powered electrification.

The first two units of the 1,670MW Srisailam Left Bank Hydroelectric Station located in Telangana, India were restarted, after a huge fire caused damage in August. The trial run of the units was conducted in phases to check important parameters, before the official relaunch. The re-launch was originally scheduled for September but postponed to October after engineers working on the restoration of units contracted Covid-19.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Spain’s industrial power consumption rises in September – Construction at Vogtle nuclear power plant delayed

26 October

Industrial electricity demand saw a slight increase in September in Spain as the year-on-year decline in power consumption decreased by 2.3% from 7.7% in August. The decline in the previous month was the lowest recorded at 1.8% in June 2018, according to grid operator Red Eléctrica Group.

ABB, Switzerland-based power and electrical equipment company, has forecasted its revenue to decline for the fourth straight quarter due to the ongoing pandemic. The demand from European and American customers continues to remain low despite China making a recovery. The company registered a 4% drop in revenue to $6.58bn in Q3, faring slightly better than forecasted figures of $6.3bn.

Georgia Power has revised the operational schedule for its Vogtle nuclear plant, due to the impact of the measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 at the plant site. The nuclear fuel loading for the first reactor is now deferred to April 2021, while commercial operation of the reactor will start next November, as per schedule.

Electricity generated from renewables will make up more than half of Germany’s power mix this year, according to data from Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. The increase is attributed to larger capacity, conducive weather conditions and shrinking demand due to the ongoing pandemic. The country’s dependence on renewable power increased by 6.3% from 2019.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Investment in Britain’s utilities sector drops drastically in Q2 – French wind sector survives Covid-19 scare – Power demand renews in UK as lockdown restrictions are lifted

Tax relief consultant Catax reported that business investments in utility companies in the UK slumped by 60% year-on-year, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The most affected companies due to lockdown restrictions belonged to electricity, water and gas sectors. The total investment in the utilities dropped by $2.2bn (£1.7bn) in Q2 this year, a $5.1bn (£3.9bn) fall from the corresponding period in 2019.

The wind sector in France experienced a huge setback during H1 2020, with a 45% decline in installations due to coronavirus induced lockdown. The sector, however, met 9.5% of the country’s power demand during the lockdown period. Experts noted that the pandemic has had limited impact on the sector in the short term, although the overall impact is yet to be ascertained.

The relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK resulted in the return of demand and prices to pre-lockdown levels. The electricity demand in the September quarter increased to 60.6TWh from 53.2TWh in Q2, which was the lowest quarterly demand registered in more than a decade. The day-ahead electricity prices in Q3 averaged at $46.1/MWh, nearer to pre-Covid-19 levels, a significant rise from $35.2/MWh and $30.2/MWh recorded in first and second quarters of the year, respectively.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Indian electricity sales register 13% rise in September quarter – Solar power dwindles in Europe

22 October

Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) registered sales of 16,486 million units (MU) in Q3, a 13.2% growth from the previous quarter. The increased sales were attributed to multiple factors including rise in power demand, reopening of industrial and economic activities and lifting of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions in the country.

Hydro and wind power dominated the renewable energy sector in Europe while solar power generation dropped, as the continent emerged from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The solar power generated declined to 35.1TWh in the third quarter from 47.6TWh in the June quarter, according to data from Enappsys.

American power utility companies Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Duke Energy restarted disconnecting electricity to customers in Volusia and Flagler counties in Florida for the non-payment of bills. The companies refrained from taking action for several months taking into consideration the rising coronavirus cases and the resulting lockdown restrictions. While Duke Energy resumed disconnecting electricity to customers defaulting on payments in September, FPL started cutting off power in October.

Wholesale electricity prices declined by almost 50% in the third quarter to a six year low, according to data from Australian Energy Market Operator. Covid-19 induced lockdown combined with use of rooftop solar panels by Australians contributed to the the decline. The gas prices during the third quarter also fell by almost half from corresponding period in 2019, predominantly due to 5% decline in fossil fuel demand.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Virginia plans to write off power utility customers’ debts – Africa electricity developments slowed by Covid-19

21 October

Power utility customers in the US state of Virginia, who defaulted on their payments for at least a month, will have their debts cancelled through the federal Covid-19 relief funds. The write-off is subject to the governor retaining the existing language in the budget bill. The state’s utility companies, except Dominion Energy, will have access to $100m worth relief funds, which will be disbursed by the State Corporation Commission.

The coronavirus pandemic has left several people without access to electricity in Africa for the first time in almost a decade. The progress made by the country in electrification is expected to be reversed due to the pandemic according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The pandemic cast a shadow over Africa’s health and economic sectors, leaving major utilities without access to resources required to enhance electricity access in the region, the report stated.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Ausgrid to cut 230 jobs – Aiko Solar reports record revenue growth in third quarter

20 October

Australian electricity distribution company Ausgrid has announced plans to cut 230 back-office and managerial jobs due to the tough market conditions arising out of the pandemic. The job cuts will be implemented from January 2021 and are part of an organisational restructure originally announced in 2019.

Evergy, an electricity provider in the US, is seeking permission from Kansas Corporation Commission and the Missouri Public Service Commission to track the costs incurred and the losses made due to the pandemic. These costs may eventually be incorporated into the electricity rates charged by Evergy, if the regulators approve.

Aiko Solar, a solar cell manufacturer, announced a 49.45% year-on-year increase in revenue in the first nine months of 2020. The company’s profits declined by 68% year-on-year in the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic but record revenues of $382.9m in the third quarter helped the company exceed its previous year revenues.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Scatec Solar registers quarterly loss – Solar power set to “dominate” the energy market

19 October

Power consumption in India increased by 11.45% in the first two weeks of October compared to the same period in 2019, due to the reopening of industrial and commercial establishments after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. The first half of October registered power consumption of 55.37 billion units (BU), while overall electricity utilised in October 2019 was 97.84BU.

Norwegian solar power company Scatec Solar reported losses in Q3 despite increase in revenues from power production and EBITDA amid the Covid-19 restrictions. The company’s EBITDA jumped to $40.5m from $31m but could not counterbalance the EBITDA losses from the development and construction division which slumped to $2.9m.

A new report from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) has noted that solar energy is poised to meet one-third of the world’s electricity demand. The report claimed that solar energy consumption is set to increase 13% annually through the next decade. The factors contributing to rise in solar photovoltaic (PV) generation are: policy support from a majority of the countries, availability of resources and plummeting production costs.

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Coronavirus company news summary – National Grid foresees lower winter energy demand in UK – Germany to drop renewable surcharge

16 October

National Grid, UK’s transmission system operator, has said in a report that the country has a decreased risk of winter blackouts this year due to reduced energy demand. The demand for electricity will decline by 2.4GW over winter compared to the previous year, as more people work from home and avoid public places due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Germany has announced plans to reduce the surcharge paid by consumers for renewable power, leading to lower electricity bills from 2021. The average household with three persons will see electricity prices drop by 1%, save an average of $14 (€12) annually. The country originally introduced the surcharge to promote renewable power generation and reduce carbon emissions.

According to speakers at the Energy Transition and Covid-19 roundtable, the Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the energy transtition in the European Union. It has also proven that power grids can handle larger amounts of renewable energy. Speakers said this should serve as an example for Serbia‘s energy transition, which is still beginning. The Serbian energy and mining ministry said the country will formulate a National Energy and Climate Plan to meet its renewable energy development goals.

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Coronavirus company news summary – IEA energy outlook predicts energy future – SSE plans to sell Yorkshire assets

14 October

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its World Energy Outlook 2020 report. The Agency forecasts a 5% fall in energy demand during 2020, as a result of Covid-19. This compares to a 12% increase predicted before the pandemic. The agency also said peak oil has yet to come, contradicting predictions by other analysts.

SSE plans to sell its 50% stake in energy projects in Yorkshire, UK, to an investment fund. The Scottish firm will receive $1288m (£995m) in cash in return for the stake sale. Proceeds from this sale will go towards low-carbon energy infrastructure investment before 2025, and cutting the company’s debts. Recently, SSE affirmed plans to make big payouts to investors despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Engie and Mitsui sold a stake of 75% in their jointly owned Australian Renewable Energy Trust to Infrastructure Capital Group. Although terms of the deal have not been disclosed, Reuters valued the deal at $287m (A$400m), citing a person familiar with the deal.

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Coronavirus company news summary – IEA says coal demand has peaked, oil peak in 2030 – Vietnamese wind farm applies for 1GW extension

13 October

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will accelerate the world’s transition to cleaner sources of energy. The agency stated that coal demand is unlikely to return to pre-Covid-19 levels, and would account for less than 20% of energy consumption by 2040. Oil would remain “vulnerable to the major economic uncertainties resulting from the pandemic,” with demand starting to fall after 2030, the agency said.

Mainstream Renewable Power, in a joint venture with Phu Cuong Group, has applied to increase the size of the Phu Cuoong Soc Trang wind farm in Vietnam to 1.4GW. The wind farm was initially planned to have 400MW capacity. Construction will begin on the first 200MW of Phase 1 in the third quarter of next year.

India’s financial capital Mumbai and neighboring areas have experienced widespread power cuts attributed to grid failure. The outages disrupted essential services, including hospitals treating critically Covid-19 patients. The power supply was restored after 15 hours, at around 2am on Tuesday. Power consumption in India registered a 4.6% year-on-year growth in September, increasing to 112.4TWh. In the first half of the year, power consumption in the country declined by 8.5% year-on-year, only reaching 625.6TWh due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Rosatom launches battery subsidiary – Iran to decommission plants to raise average efficiency

12 October

Russian nuclear power giant Rosatom has created subsidiary RENERA to mark its entry into the energy storage business. The new venture will develop and market lithium-ion traction batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. Its current project portfolio consists of more than 120 ongoing and completed projects for the supply of lithium-ion energy storage devices.

Pacifico Energy has started construction on a 53.9MW DC solar power generation plant in Sano-shi, Tochigi Prefecture in Japan. Juwi Shizen Energy has been named as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project. The solar plant will commence commercial operations in 2022, generating nearly 62 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually once commissioned.

Iran’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Co has decided to decommission its most well-used thermal power plants to increase the average efficiency of all power plants in the country. The preliminary measures for decommissioning Tarasht, Rey, and Be’sat power plants in Tehran have already begun.

Hellenic Petroleum has concluded the acquisition of the 204MW solar photovoltaic projects in Greece from Germany-based Juwi Holding. Located in an area of Kozani, the $154m (€130m) project is in the final permitting stage. It comprises the construction of 18 PV systems.

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Coronavirus company news summary – NTPC establishes renewable energy subsidiary – Lekela begins operations at 110MW wind farm

9 October

State-owned energy companies in Poland plan to start separating coal-based generation assets from the rest of their business in 2021, as burning coal has become costly and deters banks from providing financing. Poland generates over 70% of its electricity from coal, and is the only country in the European Union which has refused to pledge climate neutrality by 2050.

India’s state-run power company NTPC has established a wholly-owned renewable energy subsidiary, known as NTPC Renewable Energy. The venture comes after the company receiving approval from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, and Niti Aayog in August.

Lekela has announced that the 110MW Perdekraal East wind farm in South Africa has started commercial operations. The project features 48 Siemens Gamesa 2.3-108 turbines and will provide approximately 360GWh of electricity per year.

Electricity demand in India rose by 13.65% during the first week of October. Demand reached 25.95TWh as industrial and commercial activities increased after the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to the power ministry. This stood at 22.83TWh in the same period last year. In the full month of October last year, power consumption stood at 97.84TWh. Extrapolating the current level of consumption is likely to see year-on-year growth this month, reported PTI.

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Coronavirus company news summary – North American energy projects maintain value through Covid – MHI Vestas to install 90 turbines in UK

7 October

In its latest report, Fitch Ratings has said that North American energy projects have generally weathered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic well. The rating agency affirmed its outlook for 37 of its 46 energy projects in North America, and revised the outlook of five projects to negative. It also downgraded the outlook of three projects; and placed one project on Rating Watch Negative.

Consumption of electricity in the US is expected to fall by 2.3% in 2020 as Covid-19 induced lockdowns impacted businesses, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Electricity demand is expected to fall to 3,809 TWh this year, against 3,896 TWh last year. In 2021, the administration expects consumption to remain steady, at 3,806 TWh.

Swedish wind power developer Eolus has signed a deal to sell the 46.5MW Wind Wall 1 wind farm in the US to Cubico Sustainable Investments. The project is located near Tehachapi, California, and is Eolus’ first wind project developed, financed, and constructed in the US. The project will comprise of 13 wind turbines, whcih will be commissioned during the fall of this year.

Turbine maker MHI Vestas has started preparatory works to install turbines at the Triton Knoll project in the UK. The company plans to install 90 of its V164-9.5 MW in the first quarter of 2021. The company has moved in to Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool, which will serve as the turbine logistics and pre-assembly hub for the project.

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Coronavirus company news summary – UK pledges wind generation investment – US domestic solar installation set to break records

6 October

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged £160m to upgrade ports and factories for the construction of offshore turbines. The pledge follows an election pledge, and forms part of the British government’s Covid-19 recovery stimulus. In a conference speech, Johnson has said wind will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of all domestic consumption by 2030. Commentators have suggested the speech aims to distract from continuous negative headlines concerning the government’s handling of the pandemic. The investment plan is aimed at creating 2,000 jobs in construction.

A report has suggests America’s residential solar industry is set for a record-breaking year after a dip during the outbreak of Covid-19. BloombergNEF has forecast 3GW of residential-solar installations, with another 3.6GW expected to be installed next year. BloombergNEF analyst Tara Narayanan said the push for renewables ‘ has allowed the sector to shake off the worst of the plague and some natural disasters’.

The Prime Minsiters of India and Israel have agreed to hold a digital conference on innovation in solar energy, and to continue and advance bilateral cooperation in fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the cooperation, the countries will jointly aim to develop inexpensive solar solutions.

5:19 pm

Coronavirus company news summary – Japanese industry ministry to assist in transition – Fifth phase funding for UAE solar project

5 October

Japan’s Trade and Industry Ministry (Meti) has sought an increase in its budget to assist the country’s shift to low-carbon energy. Japan has also started phasing out coal-fired power plants, as cuts to greenhouse gas emissions as a result of Covid-19 have pushed the country’s decarbonisation strategy forward. Meti seeks a budget increase to $4.65bn (JPY490.2bn) in the 21-22 fiscal year, an increase of $620m (JPY64.3bn) over what its original allocation.

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corp has signed an agreement with Shuaa Energy 3 to provide $70.5m for the development of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, UAE. The deal was sponsored by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, ACWA Power and the Gulf Investment Corp. The $564m 900MW solar photovoltaic plant forms part of Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 as well as Clean Energy Strategy 2050.

The Indian city of Delhi has almost reached its pre-Covid-19 of power demand, as economic activity increases under its ‘Unlock’ process. In September 2020, power demand was 5.9% lower than in September 2019. Power distribution company officials were quoted by PTI as saying: “In April, during the height of the Covid-19-induced lockdown, there was around 40% difference in comparison to the peak power demand of 2019. This gap reduced to just about 5.9% in September. The peak power demand in September 2019 was 6,626 MW, while it was 6,231 MW this year.”

10:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indian power company targets 340TWh of generation – Vestas receives order for 109MW of turbines

1 October

India-based power generation utility NTPC is targeting a revenue of $13.2bn (Rs980bn) for financial year 2020-21. In a statement, a company spokesperson said: “NTPC, India’s largest power producer, will aim for a revenue of Rs980bn from operations and 340TWh of electricity generation as part of its memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Power for financial year 2020-21.” This announcement comes in the wake of power demand dipping in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed a contract with the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company for VVER-440 nuclear fuel for the Rivne nuclear power plant. The parties also signed a letter of intent on further exploring localisation of fuel assembly component production in Ukraine.

Mainstream Renewable Power has placed an order with Vestas for the 109 MW Ckani wind park, to be located in the Antofagasta region of Chile. The contract features the supply and installation of 26 V150-4.2 MW wind turbines, as well as an Active Output Management 5000 service agreement for the operation and maintenance of the wind park over the next two decades.

9:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Renewables support 11.5m jobs worldwide – Vistra announces net zero plans and coal exit

30 September

GE Steam Power has finished a major steam turbine and generator outage at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. The outage was originally planned for April, but was deferred until this month as Covid-19 spread across the region. The work was completed in 30 days.

A record 11.5 million jobs were supported by the global renewable energy sector in 2019, according to a report. However, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said governments will need to come up with strong policy action to ensure continued employment expansion in the Covid-19 era. Nearly 63% of all renewables jobs were generated in Asia. Photovoltaic generation accounted for 33% of global renewables jobs with a total of 3.8 million employed, the report added.

Energy company Vistra has unveiled plans to break ground on nearly 1GW of renewable generation and energy storage projects, and retire its entire Midwest coal fleet. In doing this, it aims to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. These new developments are expected to require a capital investment of approximately $850m.

Vestas has secured a new 25MW contract from PNE for the Boitzenhagen wind project in Lower Saxony, Northern Germany. As per the agreement, Vestas will deliver one V126-3.45 MW turbine at 137m hub height, and six V136-3.45 MW turbines delivered in 3.6MW power mode at 132m hub height. It also involves supply, installation, and commissioning of the wind turbines as well as 20-year service agreement.

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Canadian hydroelectric project sees rising costs – Vattenfall opens floating solar plant

29 September

Canada-based Nalcor Energy said the cost of its Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project has gone up drastically due to delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for the state-owned firm said the project would need an additional investment of approximately $56m (C$75) due to pandemic-related delays. Covid-19-related costs to the project were approximately $112m (C$150m).

Swedish power company Vattenfall has opened its first 1.2MW floating solar farm in Gendringen, the Netherlands. Built on a site owned by sand and gravel extraction company Netterden, the 3,000-panel project will generate half of the annual energy consumption of the sand dredge and associated equipment.

Vestas Wind Systems has secured a contract from infrastructure investor TINC to deliver wind turbines to its 80MW wind project in the Netherlands. The deal encompasses the supply, installation, and commissioning of 19 units of the V117-4.2 MW turbines. These will be installed at the Kroningswind wind farm, in the south-western Netherlands.

Power demand in India rose by nearly 3% year-on-year in September, as economic activity gained momentum despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In August, power demand was 2% lower than the same period one year ago. According to data shared by Power System Operation Corporation, power demand in the country’s industrial states including Gujarat and Maharashtra increased over last year but was below the September 2018 level.

9:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Hitachi ABB Power Grids expects strong recovery – Korean investors end coal power support

28 September

Hitachi ABB Power Grids CEO Claudio Facchin told Reuters the company will reach the upper end of its 2025 targets, despite the impact pandemic downturn. Facchin said: “Covid-19 has a negative impact on us in 2020 and 2021… but by 2023 and 2024, we should not see any more effect. We expect an actual positive swing when the recovery and stimulus packages kick in.” The power grids business was acquired by Hitachi for $11bn from ABB.

South Korea-based KB Financial Group has decided to cease financing the construction of coal-fired power plants inside and outside the country in a bid to combat global climate change. The group will instead increase its investment in renewable energy businesses and the issuance of ESG bonds, The Korea Herald reported, citing the company’s officials.

Vestas has received a 144MW turbine order from Terna Energy for the Karystia wind project in the prefecture of Evia, Greece. As per the terms of the contract, Vestas will supply and install 40 V105-3.45 MW wind turbines delivered in 3.6MW Power Optimised Mode. It also includes a ten-year Active Output Management 5000 service agreement.

Solar power projects under construction in India face greater risks due to the numerous uncertainties caused by Covid-19-related lockdowns. According to a report by ratings agency India Ratings, solar power generation in Q1 of the financial year 2020-21 was 3%-4% lower than the same period one year ago.

10:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – World bank approves $450m Pakistan funding – BNRG receives 20-year contract for Maine power

25 September

The World Bank has approved $450m in financing to support Pakistan’s transition to renewable energy resources. World Bank country director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine said: “This will facilitate the expansion of renewable energy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by identifying and preparing solar and hydropower projects that are technically sound, environmentally and socially sustainable, and investment ready.”

The Texas Municipal Power Agency is holding negotiations with Charah Solutions to decommission and sell Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station and Reservoir in Grimes County, US. Charah will take control of the 6,166-acre site including the closed power station, the 3,500-acre reservoir, dam, and spillway through its subsidiary Gibbons Creek Environmental Redevelopment Group.

Irish solar energy BNRG has received new contracts to supply electricity to utilities Central Maine Power and Versant Power in the US state of Maine for 20 years. The deals, which the company won through its joint venture with local player Dirigo Solar, boosts its total investment in the state to $291m (€250m), The Irish Times reported.

US-based utility Dynegy has signed a multi-year partnership with Chicago’s Willis Tower to provide renewable-generated electricity to the tower. As per the contract, Dynegy will use energy credits to ensure all supplied electricity comes from wind power.


9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US utility invests $1bn in energy efficiency – European bank offers $3.5bn for renewable generation

24 September

US-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co has received approval from New Jersey regulators to invest $1bn in energy efficiency programmes over the next three years. The investments would cut customer bills by nearly $1bn, and create up to 4,300 jobs. Ralph Izzo, chief executive of parent company Public Service Enterprise Group, told Reuters this would help the state recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, .

The European Investment Bank has announced plans to offer $3.55bn (€3bn) to accelerate renewable energy generation around the globe. Several renewable energy projects in Europe will use the funding, including construction of wind projects off the Dutch coast, similar projects in Bosnia, and the renovation of a hydropower plant in Georgia.

Elgin Energy has formed a joint venture with Foresight Group to develop a pipeline of greenfield solar projects across the UK. As per the agreement, the new venture will develop six projects with a total generating capacity of 200MW in England, Wales, and Scotland.

GE Renewable Energy has received three orders for its 2.X onshore wind turbines from Invenergy. The deal includes GE’s 2.X-127 and 2.X-116 turbines. The 576MW, 187-turbine order will power the equivalent of over 160,000 average homes across three US states.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Renewables on track in India and Colombia – Tanzanian hydro project falls behind

23 September

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said that despite disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, investment capital for renewable projects in India remains ample. IEEFA added that government policies and a collapse in electricity demand have disrupted the country’s renewable energy capacity tendering and commissioning process. IEEFA research analyst Kashish Shah said despite these setbacks renewables have proved resilient, with investment capital available for new projects with favourable risk-return profiles.

Colombian renewables association SER has said wind and solar power projects in the country remain on schedule despite coronavirus. More than 2GW of capacity are expected to finish construction by 2022. SER executive director Germán Corredor told BNamericas that an initial pause, coinciding with the start of lockdowns in March, has now given way to activity.

On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the Regional Rusumo Fall Hydroelectric Project in Tanzania. Rusumo Hydro plant manager Eng Patrick Lwesya said that the original deadline for completion was February this year, but it has now been rescheduled to December next year. So far, 74% of work on the plant is completed.

Solar-powered home energy products provider Greenlight Planet has secured $90m in funding. It will use this to expand its pay-as-you-go solar consumer financing business, and consolidate its debt portfolio. Greenlight operates the PAYG solar distribution and service network under its Sun King brand.

10:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nigeria launches home solar systems project – Indian state waives payments during lockdown

22 September

The Nigerian government has proposed a ‘Solar Home Systems Project’, expected to assist more than 25 million people with no connection to the national grid. This comes as Nigeria faces a significant economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With this initiative, local solar manufacturers will be encouraged to set up manufacturing facilities for solar components in the country.

The Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission in India has ordered a waiver of monthly fixed charges for all industrial and commercial consumers. The waiver affects the months of April to June, in an attempt to ease the burden of the pandemic during those months. A three-month moratorium on late payment charges was also ordered by the commission over the same period until September this year, The Times of India reported.

Xcel Energy will soon begin its annual refueling of the generator at Prairie Island nuclear plant in the US. This process will need help from hundreds of temporary workers, complicated by the pandemic. The company has started recruiting workers for the refueling work.

Nama Group member Muscat Electricity Distribution Company has reported normal operations despite the Covid-19 pandemic. During the first half of this year, the company increased its network capacity by 122MW in the Muscat Governorate. This brought its network capacity in Muscat to 6.704GW. Muscat Electricity also launched the operation of three primary substations.

11:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Sizewell C Consortium warns of risk to 10,000 jobs – Indian Power Grid Corp. allowed to sell assets

21 September

The Sizewell C Consortium has announced that approximately 10,000 jobs in the nuclear construction industry will be at risk if the UK government does not approve plans for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station. According to the group, up to a third of jobs at some companies could be at risk. Furthermore, the group argues these jobs are necessary to help the UK maintain its ability to develop new nuclear projects in future.

Power Grid Corp. of India has received approval from the Indian government to sell projects through an infrastructure investment trust. The projects were originally secured through tariff-based competitive bidding. As of the last fiscal year, the company had commissioned eight transmission projects won through bidding. Five of these have operated for more than a year, and may be included in the investment trust. Analysts said this would help the company free-up sizeable equity capital.

The Indian government has informed its parliament that as much as $9.5bn (Rs705.9bn) worth of credit has been made available to power distribution companies as part of a liquidity package for payment of debts by utilities. Through the Power Finance Corp. and Rural Electrification Corp., the government has given the sector liquidity to allow maintenance of power supplies, after cash flows plummeted during the country’s lockdown.

11:02 am

Engie rejects $3.4bn bid for stake in its water and waste disposal business

French power and utility company Engie has rejected a $3.4bn (€2.9bn) offer to buy its water and waste disposal company Suez.

Public services company Veolia offered to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez, which it would then use to launch a full takeover bid. A Veolia spokespersons said it would pay in cash, at more than 50% above the stock market price of shares.

Board members of Engie have said it should seek a better deal. Suez’s second biggest shareholder, Spanish bank Criteria, has no interest in forming a consortium with Veolia.

In an interview with French newspaper JDD, Suez chairman Phillippe Varin said Veolia’s offer was “very hostile”. He also said Veolia’s ownership would hurt Suez’s ability to do business overseas.

Veolia chairman and CEO Antoine Frérot rejects this, saying: “This historic opportunity will enable us to build the French world champion in ecological transformation, while accelerating international development and strengthening the new entity’s capacity for innovation.”

10:03 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Sterling and Wilson receives 107MW solar order – India extends wind project commissioning date

18 September

India’s Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has extended the date of commissioning for a 76.5MW wind project due to force majeure events. This project is being developed by Clean Wind Power (Bhavnagar). The commissioning date has been extended by five months from 23 June to 23 November.

Sterling and Wilson Solar has won a 106.71 MW solar project in Chile, the company’s fifth project in Latin America. In a statement, the company said: “Sterling and Wilson Solar has signed an order of 106.71 MW worth $62.6m in Chile. The order has been received from a global independent power producer, and work is expected to begin in Q4 2021.”

Coal consumption by power firms in Indonesia is expected to stand at 95.6 million tonnes in 2020. This is down from 97 million tonnes recorded in 2019 according to PLN, the state-owned power generation and transmission firm. On the other hand, power consumption during the January-July period grew 0.51% from the same period in 2019.

9:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australia on track for 30% renewable generation – Pakistan invests in hydroelectric projects

17 September

According to the Clean Energy Regulator’s new report, Australia is said to be on track to grow its total share of renewable power generation to 30% by the end of this year. As per the Renewable Energy Target 2019 Administrative Report, the total capacity delivered under the Renewable Energy Target grew by 24%. This brings the total from 5.1GW registered in 2018 to 6.3GW in 2019.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) of Pakistan has approved four power projects worth $73m (Rs12.25bn). These included a hydroelectric plant, substation works, and skill development programmes. The party also recommended two projects worth $200m (Rs33.48bn), covering a dam project and water management, to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for consideration. CDWP also permitted extending the re-tendering process of one project worth $72m (Rs12.1bn).

India’s coal-fired power generation increased by 9.4% in the first half of September, according to provisional government data. Power demand from industrial western states grew for the first time since Covid-19-induced lockdowns started. India’s total power generation increased by 1.6% during the first 15 days of September, according to a Reuters analysis of everyday load despatch data from grid operator POSOCO.

10:03 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australian government supports gas industry – Nexamp acquire 50MW solar portfolio

16 September

According to the Nuclear Industry Association, the number of people employed in UK nuclear remained steady despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The association’s annual Jobs Map shows 59,584 employed in the civil nuclear sector across the UK in 2020. This number is a slight increase from 2019.

The Government of Australia has set out a strategy to improve supply of gas and bring down energy prices, including a possible gas-fired power plant funded by the state. This strategy forms part of an economic boost package as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposals come after the government faced pressure from the manufacturing sector to boost gas supplies and lower prices. However, the power industry and green groups criticised the move, saying it moved the industry in the wrong direction, reported Reuters.

US-based Nexamp has acquired a portfolio of ten community solar projects, generating 50MW, from Dimension Energy. The projects will allow residential customers of Central Maine Power and Versant Power to subscribe to a part of a project’s production and receive savings through credits on their monthly electricity bills. Nexamp will be responsible for building the assets and managing customer subscriptions with its in-house teams as the long-term project owner.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – GE Renewable energy supplies 27 turbines – Delhi electricity regulator halves fixed charges

15 September

GE Renewable Energy has been selected by EDF RE and Mitsui & Co for the supply of equipment for the 87MW Taza onshore wind farm in Morocco. The wind farm will use 27 of GE’s 3.2-85 onshore wind turbines. The project is part of the country’s energy strategy, which aims to produce 52% of its installed electric power from renewable energies by 2030.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has cut fixed power charges by 50% for non-domestic consumers. A commissions spokesperson said many establishments did not use their contracted capacity in the lockdown period up to 30 May, but fixed charges were still invoiced to them. The DERC stated that the fixed charges for the unused capacity during the lockdown period will be reduced.

Power consumption in the Canadian province of British Columbia was 7% below the forecast for August, according to latest regional government data. This is an improvement on March, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, when power consumption was 10% below forecast.

9:51 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Saudi Electricity Company issues $1.3bn in bonds – India increases loans to power distributors

14 September

Saudi Electricity Company has sold $1.3bn in dual-tranche, Islamic bonds. It claims this is the first public green issuance in the country in 2020.  It sold $650m in a five-year tranche at 140 basis points over midswaps, with another $650m of ten-year Islamic bonds at 170 basis points over midswaps, Reuters reported.

Risen Energy, a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products, has announced a structured 140MW supply contract with UPC-AC Energy Solar Asia. As per the deal, Risen’s Mono PERC modules will be provided into early 2021.

The Government of India seems likely to increase the special loans it has offered to state-run power electricity distribution companies. The increase will bring the loans up to $16.3bn (Rs1.2tn), from the $12.2bn (Rs 900bn) previously announced. These loans were intended to cover the extra dues of distribution companies to power generators for the April-June period, a senior official told Financial Express. Due to additional difficulties as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, several states requested a widening of the window, according to power ministry secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai.


11:45 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid fatalities near 910,000 – infections pass 28.1 million

11 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 28,170,000, with more than 909,000 deaths and 18,995,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

This is primarily driven by increasing cases observed in Latin America, the US, and India.

Cases are rising alarmingly in India with no indication to suggest that cases will decline in the near future.

Argentina is reporting an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Latin America.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high numbers of new daily cases.

Total confirmed cases collectively in Africa are very low with only South Africa among the top 30 most affected countries globally.

South Africa is reporting a steady decline in daily new cases in recent days.

However, countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have reported increasing trend of daily new cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 28.1 million – Western Europe a new hotspot

11 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 28.1 million, with deaths exceeding 909,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections topped eight million in Latin America, though there were indications the spread of the virus was slowing in some countries. During the past week, the daily average of cases in the region fell to 67,173 through Wednesday from 80,512 in the previous seven days, according to a tally by Reuters.

Europe: Western Europe has surpassed the US in new daily infections, re-emerging as a global hotspot after bringing the pandemic under control earlier in the summer. The 27 countries in the European Union plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 26,015 for the US.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 191,444.

India: India has set another global one-day record for coronavirus infections with 96,551 new cases. The country’s total reported cases are 4,562,414, according to Johns Hopkins data, and deaths stand at 76,271.

Germany: Germany has recorded 1,484 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases in the country to 2567,850, and 9,342 deaths.

France: France recorded almost 10,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest-ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded just one new community case of Covid-19. The person in their 50s is linked to the cluster around the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group in Auckland.

South Korea: In South Korea, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 21,919, with 350 deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 3,144 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 2,836 registered on September 5.

China: Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases at the end of Thursday, up from seven cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement all of the cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 26th straight day of no local infections.

Japan: The Japanese government is planning to have testing centres for coronavirus in nightlife districts across the nation in a bid to prevent flare-ups, Yomiuri reported, without saying who provided the information. Areas to be targeted include bar districts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

UK: Intensive care medics were significantly less likely to have been infected with Covid-19 than cleaners and other healthcare workers in departments deemed a lower risk, according to a study of several British hospitals at the peak of the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil is still to decide if it will join the COVAX Facility, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization, the acting health minister said on Thursday.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said a curfew imposed to contain the state’s coronavirus outbreak will remain in place as health officials reported 43 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

Singapore and Japan: Will begin a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on 18 September, according to a joint government press statement.

Myanmar: A domestic flight ban came into effect in Myanmar on Friday, with Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ, Air Thanlwin and other airlines announcing the suspension of their services, many for at least two weeks.

Colombia: Maria Orozco, Colombia’s transport minister, said international flights to and out of the country will begin gradually, starting on 21 September, following a six-month hiatus to contain the spread of coronavirus.

US: The US is ending its Covid-19 screening of international travellers arriving at airports as airlines seek new ways to more aggressively test for the virus to boost traffic.


9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Loan to support Cambodia’s transmission systems – $214m loan for Spanish renewable projects

11 September

The Asian Development Bank has granted a loan of $127.8m to support the construction of transmission lines and substations in Cambodia. The fund will finance the construction of four 115–230 kV transmission lines. It will also go towards ten substations in Phnom Penh and three other provinces of Cambodia.

The Spanish Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy has decided to offer $214m (€181m) in subsidies to support renewables-based projects across seven regions of Spain. Part of a $374m (€316m) package, the money fund the construction of solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass and renewable gases facilities, including green hydrogen projects.

PÜSPÖK Group has awarded GE Renewable Energy with a contract to deliver 30 Cypress onshore wind turbines units for two wind farms in Austria. The deal includes a multi-year service contract. Installation of the turbines will start in Q1 2021, and will be operational by end of next year.

Peak power demand in India has returned to normal after it touched 174.33GW on 9 September, more than the highest level of 173.15GW in the same period one year ago. Power demand plummeted after the government imposed a lockdown at the end of March to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Peak demand stood at 167.49GW in August against 177.52GW registered in the same month last year.

9:13 am

Why US dollar will remain dominant in spite of Covid

11 September

The weakening of the US dollar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new policies proposed by the Federal Reserve, led to speculations that the US dollar is losing its dominance as a global currency.

However, there is ‘push back’ that these speculations are exaggerated because ‘there are no other contenders’ for a reserve currency.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, tweeted on how the US dollar index lost 10% since March and the speculations surrounding its collapse as a reserve currency.

He noted that these speculations are false and that the US dollar index has weakened only relative to the Euro and the Yen.

Lacalle added that the status of the US dollar as a reserve currency is not at risk as there is no other contender.


Read more

10:30 am

International update: Global Covid deaths likely to pass 1 million by October – infections near 28 million

10 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed 903,000 – just over ten weeks after passing 500,000. If global deaths continued at the current rate, the toll is likely to pass one million before 1 October, ten months after the World Health Organization was first informed of the first cases in Wuhan, China. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 28 million.

Europe: Infections continue to rise rapidly across Europe. France has seen its second-highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far and hospitalisations are at a one-month high, as the Netherlands and Portugal both confirmed their highest daily infections since April.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

India: India has reported another record for daily coronavirus cases with the health ministry confirming 95,735 cases over the past 24 hours. Some 1,172 people in India also died from the virus, the ministry said.

Mexico: Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Spain: Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks. There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland.

Lockdown updates

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a mass testing programme is the UK’s “only hope for avoiding a second national lockdown before a vaccine”, according to leaked official documents.

Japan: Japan plans to lift restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours. Tokyo is reportedly planning to lift restrictions on opening hours for bars and restaurants, as new coronavirus cases in the city continued on a downward trend.

Australia: Australia’s health minister says the state of Victoria should consider lifting a night-time curfew in Melbourne if it wasn’t imposed for health reasons. The state has been under pressure over the 8pm (10:00 GMT) – 5am (19:00 GMT) curfew since the chief health officer told local radio he hadn’t recommended the policy.

Indonesia: Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will head back into lockdown as it steps up efforts to tackle what he said was an “emergency – more pressing than the start of the pandemic.”

Economic updates

US: New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell 5% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.


9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UAE city records 70% jump in power demand during lockdown – UK further extends solar deadlines

10 September

Consumption of electricity in the US will decline by 2.4% this year, according to a report by the US Energy Information Administration. This comes as a result of lockdowns in response to Covid-19. It is estimated that power consumption will slide to 3,802TWh in 2020, down from 3,896TWh last year. The administration then expects consumption in 2021 to remain steady, at 3,801TWh.

Sharjah, the third-largest city in the UAE, registered a 70% leap in the consumption of power during its lockdown to arrest the spread of Covid-19. However, this huge surge was not witnessed in households’ power bills, as a rebate of 10% was offered to all consumers for three months. Authorities were also asked to pause disconnection for those who could not pay their bills, reported.

The UK government has given solar projects six more months to complete and register feed-in tariff projects because of ongoing challenges caused by coronavirus. This is the second extension granted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, after it granted a six month extension earlier this year. The new deadline for solar PV installations is now 31 March 2020.

The consortium of EDF Renewables and Mitsui & Co. has started construction of the first phase of the Taza wind farm in northern Morocco. Consisting of 27 wind turbines, the first phase of the wind farm will have a total capacity of 87MW.


9:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.8 million – deaths exceed 903,000

10 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,871,000, with more than 903,000 deaths and 18,780,000 recoveries.

India is the most affected country from Covid-19 with over 90,000 daily new cases and over 1,000 daily new deaths.

The US and Brazil continue to report the high number of daily new cases, but the daily new cases have started to gradually decline in both countries.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high number of daily new cases and the testing positivity rate is also rising in these countries.

According to World Health Organization, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services and vaccinations, as the economic and health resources are diverted to manage Covid-19.

This might reverse the years of progress made in child and maternal health.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

8:20 am

Climate change adds to Covid driven economic woes

10 September

Wildfires and flooding have become increasingly common due to the effects of climate change.

As these changes increase, they are expected to majorly impact a financial system already under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthew E. Kahn, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how a new report from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has highlighted the impact of climate change on financial markets.

The report states that the disruptions caused by climate change can threaten the fundamental conditions that support the country’s financial system.

US President Donald Trump had downplayed the impact of climate change on economic growth.

The new report is a first from a government entity highlighting the damage that climate change can have on financial markets.

The first risk posed by climate change is expected to be rising prices of homes and mortgage default rates due to the wildfires and flooding.

Climate change is also expected to impact agricultural commodity prices, the report added.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on more than 10,000 deaths related Covid-19 in Argentina.

Despite having a strict lockdown, the country has not been able to control the spread of the virus.

Read more

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indian electricity consumption falls 1.6% – Global Power Generation awarded 107MW wind farm contract

9 September

Electricity consumption in India dropped by 1.6% year-on-year to 109.7TWh in August. This comes as a result of weak industrial and commercial activities in the aftermath of the Covid-19-induced lockdown. Power consumption in the month was also 2.2% lower than July, as monsoons reduced the cooling demand from residential segment.

The Australian Capital Territory government has awarded a wind farm construction contract to Global Power Generation (GPG). The company is a joint venture of Naturgy Energy Group, with a 75% stake, and the Kuwait Investment Authority with a 25% stake. GPG will construct the 107MW Berrybank Stage 2 Wind Farm in the state of Victoria, approximately 150km from Melbourne. Furthermore, GPG has committed to install a 20MWh Battery Energy Storage System located within the ACT. The wind farm will entail a total investment of $155m (AUD215m), and will start operations in the second half of 2022.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved plans to monetise the state-run Power Grid Corp. of India‘s transmission projects won through a bidding process.

Without major breakthroughs in green energy technology, the US power industry will struggle to become carbon neutral by 2035, as mandated by presidential hopeful Joe Biden, according to a Reuters analysis of a survey of top power utilities.

8:38 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.5 million – deaths near 90,000

9 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,575,000, with more than 897,000 deaths and 18,535,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.3 million total confirmed cases.

However, India is currently reporting the highest number of daily new cases in the world, and on current trajectory could overtake the US in the future.

Western European countries have recently seen a rise in daily new cases that seems to have coincided with the reopening of their economies.

England will ban the social gathering of more than six people from September 14. This strict measure will be undertaken as cases have started to rise alarmingly in recent days.

This restriction is for private gatherings and will not apply to workplaces and schools.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

7:58 am

How stimulus wrangles could deepen US recession

9 September

The Democrats and Republicans are yet to reach a consensus on further stimulus package for the US economy.

The delay in releasing stimulus into the economy could worsen the unemployment rate and force states to increase spending cuts.

Adam Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared an article on how additional stimulus is essential for the US economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democrats propose a stimulus package of $3.4tn, while the Republicans have proposed $1tn.

Lack of consensus on the stimulus may result in spending cuts by states causing a deeper recession, loss of between 4% and 5% of GDP and an increase in unemployment by 4% to 5%.

Black families and minorities are expected to be worst affected.

In addition, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of Center for Economic & Policy Research, shared an article on how states in the US are in a financial crisis.

Read more

10:20 am

International update: Covid deaths exceed 892,000 – infection rates rise in Europe

8 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed another sombre milestone, exceeding 892,000 as confirmed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries. Global Covid cases exceed 27.3 million.

India: India has reported the most deaths from coronavirus in a month. The health ministry says 1,133 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, lifting the total death toll to 72,775. Infections have passed 4.2 million.

Spain: Spain has become the first western European country to record more than half a million Covid-19 cases, logging a total of 525,549 infections.

France: A leading epidemiologist in France has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise at the current rate, the country could face a “critical situation” in several regions in December.

UK: England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the rise in the number of coronavirus cases was of great concern adding: “We have got to start taking this very seriously again”.

Vaccine news

US: An unsubstantiated claim two weeks ago by President Trump – that the “deep state” was slowing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine – has set off an effort by government officials and private industry to ensure the White House doesn’t interfere with a methodical, careful scientific process.

Europe: The European Commission said it is close to reaching an agreement with BioNTech SE on the supply of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

Mexico: Mexico will participate in the Covax facility led by the World Health Organization to obtain vaccines via the global program to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo formed a national team to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccine in a rule signed on 3 September, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Japan: Japan has approved the use $6.3 billion from its emergency budget to secure coronavirus vaccines.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government will further ease virus-related restrictions and allow restaurants to seat four people per table instead of the current limit of two, Hong Kong Economic Times reported, citing unidentified people.

Japan: The Japanese government is considering eliminating the cap of 5,000 people it has on event sizes as soon as Sept. 19 after determining that the coronavirus outbreak is easing, Kyodo reported, citing an unidentified official.

Singapore: About 13,000 workers who haven’t undergone routine coronavirus testing as of Sept. 6 will be banned from returning to work to ensure the safety of other workers, the Singapore government said in a joint statement.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released Tuesday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history.

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – EDF nuclear generation down 17.6% – Nigerian Government plans rollout of 5m solar home systems

8 September

Power utility EDF has said power production at its nuclear reactors in France fell by 17.6% during August compared to one year before. Generation fell to 22.9TWh as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and nuclear reactor outages. According to the firm, total generation in France since January is 219.5TWh, compared to 260.7TWh in 2019. This marks a drop of 15.8%.

The federal government of Nigeria has plans to offer solar home systems to five million households over 12 months under its Economic Sustainability Plan. The government’s plan featured in an address by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held in Abuja on 7 September, reported

Enel Green Power México has finished installing wind turbines at the 274 MW Dolores wind farm, and pre-operational tests have begun. An Enel Green Power spokesperson said Dolores is the company’s largest individual wind farm in the country. The total investment in the construction of the wind farm stands at approximately $290m. The wind farm can produce up to 938GWh annually, avoiding the emission of more than 525,000t of CO2 annually.

9:17 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.3 million – more than 892,000 deaths

8 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,342,000, with over 892,000 deaths and 18,338,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

European countries such as Spain and France have reported alarming increase in daily new cases in recent days.

However, The US, India, and Brazil are still the primary driver of these increases.

This is due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Studies have reported the long-term effect of Covid-19.

In the UK, estimated 60,000 people had symptoms for more than three months.

Long term symptoms ranged from mild to debilitating requiring medical support and rehabilitation.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:09 am

Dollar facing pressure from the Chinese yuan – Covid puts brake on Indian economy

8 September

The US Federal Reserve’s new policies drafted to increase inflation are aimed to improve the country’s economy. However, these policies may weaken the dollar.

Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland, shared an article on how the Federal Reserve’s policies to increase inflation may threaten the dollar’s dominance as a global currency.

The article noted that although the Federal Reserve has announced the policy change, the central bank’s policy making powers have diminished over the years due to the globalisation of US securities markets and dollar’s dominance in global commerce.

The Federal Reserve needs to finance federal deficits and drive inflation by printing money to ensure the dollar’s dominance as the Chinese Yuan is fast emerging as a rival to the currency.

Meanwhile, India’s economic prospects look bleak, as the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting an economy that was already in slowdown.

Read more

12:57 pm

International update: Global Covid cases pass 27.1 million – India second most infected with 4.2 million

7 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths have passed 889,000 with more than 27.1 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 US states, a Reuters analysis has found. Three weeks ago, cases were only rising in three states – Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota.

“Pandemic fatigue” is an additional risk as the US heads into the fall and winter, when infectious diseases traditionally spread more readily, former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said.

India: India has recorded a global one-day record of more than 90,000 positive coronavirus cases, taking the country past Brazil as the second most infected country in the world, with 4.2 million confirmed cases.

UK: Nearly 3,000 more people in the UK tested have positive for Covid-19, with 2,988 new cases reported on Sunday – a sharp increase from 1,813, and the highest number of new cases since 23 May.

Ireland: Ireland recorded another 138 new cases, with about half the new infections in Dublin, according to health authorities. That pushed the weekend total to almost 370, the worst weekend figure since early May.

France: France reported 7,071 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, showing the pandemic is continuing to progress at a “worrying” pace, the health ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Italy: Italy reported 1,297 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. This is the smallest increase in five days amid lower than usual testing at the end of the week.

Philippines: Researchers from the University of the Philippines said that the spread of Covid-19 in the country is slowing down, citing the rate of reproduction in major cities

Hong Kong: An estimated 1.13 million residents of Hong Kong have signed up for free coronavirus testing in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Syria: A United Nations official has said that more than 200 of its staff in Syria have contracted coronavirus.

Vaccine news

Australia: Australia on Monday said it will receive the first batches of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in January 2021, as the country’s virus hotspot said the number of new daily infections has fallen to a 10-week low.

Greece: Nearly half of Greeks (44%) would refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a poll of 1,000 respondents published on Sunday.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia’s government warned of mounting economic pain as Victoria state announced only a gradual easing of its coronavirus lockdown that will see retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment under tight controls across Melbourne until at least the end of October.


9:15 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nordex finishes 300MW wind project for Vattenfall – GPG contracted for 218MW Australian wind farm

7 September

Nordex has concluded the first part of the Dutch 300 MW project Wieringermeer for its customer Vattenfall, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Located 60km north of Amsterdam, the site covers an area of 300km2. Construction of the next phase has already begun.

GPG, a joint venture of Naturgy Energy, the Kuwait Investment Authority, and Snowy Hydro, has received a contract to construct a 218MW wind farm in Australia. Located nearly 300km from Melbourne, is expected to entail an investment of $262m (AUD359m) and is slated to begin operations in the second half of 2022.

Dominion Energy has applied with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the operating licenses of the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia. The company wants to extend the licenses by 20 years, on top of the original 40-year license terms. These were granted in 1978 and 1980, with an extension granted in 2003. The two nuclear units of the power station produce electricity for 473,000 homes in Virginia.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh in India is set to float a tender for setting up a 10GW solar project, reported citing undisclosed sources. The proposed tender would account for 14% of India’s green energy capacity.

8:24 am

How remote working can improve wellbeing and help control Covid-19

7 September

Many companies across the world have opted for remote working operations to safeguard their business and employees.

Remote working, however, has an indirect impact on the businesses that are dependent on employees for their business.

Julian Jessop, an independent economist and writer, shared an article, how working from home (WFH) can cost £15bn a year for the UK, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

WFH is expected to severely impact coffee shops, security guards and support jobs causing a GDP loss of 1%.

Various businesses who are reliant on office goers for their business have already started to feel the impact of the pandemic induced remote working.

Pret A Manger, for example, operates primarily near to office blocks and has announced its plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Further, the company is planning to expand into suburbs to sustain its business.

Jessop opined that the impact of WFH on GDP, is a small price to pay compared to the improvements it will provide in wellbeing such as less commuting.

Remote working can also help in controlling the pandemic, Jessop noted.

Read more

2:21 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 26.3 million – deaths exceed 869,000

4 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,337,000, with more than 869,000 deaths and 17,545,000 recoveries as daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.1 million total confirmed cases, followed by Brazil with over 4 million total confirmed cases, and India with over 3.9 million total confirmed cases.

Additionally, the US continues to report a high death toll, contributing approximately 22% to global deaths, followed by India with 14%, and Brazil with 8%.

In Thailand, just one day after marking a significant milestone of 100 days with no local transmission of the coronavirus, a new case was identified.

This case had tested positive after arriving at a correctional center, and after a detailed case history, was determined to be locally transmitted.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

2:00 pm

France announces €100bn Covid-19 recovery package with money for hydrogen, power efficiency

French prime minister Jean Castex has announced $118bn (€100bn) of spending over two years to help the country out of a Covid-19-induced slump.

At a press conference, Castex said the plan was “the largest recovery plan announced in Europe”. Details of the “Relaunch France” plan have not yet been given, but the outline includes $35.5bn (€30bn) of funds to encourage a “greener economy”.

Hydrogen projects will receive $2.37bn (€2bn) of funding, and the same amount will go toward initiatives encouraging drivers to switch to less-polluting cars.

Approximately $10.66bn (€9bn) will assist industry in decarbonising, in line with France’s sated goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Public and private buildings will receive $8.29bn (€7bn) of funds to become more power efficient.

The total funds represent more than 4% of the country’s annual GDP, making it one of the proportionately largest recovery packages announced.

1:08 pm

The question of energy beyond Covid-19: business as usual or a brave new world?

The world is still reeling from Covid-19, but as lockdowns ease and countries look to a future beyond the pandemic, the question of what constitutes the future of the energy industry remains. The answer is crucial to environmental sustainability.

While Covid-19 brought much of the world to a halt, the share of renewable energy (RE) in the power mix increased. The use of renewables in India increased by 73% from March to July, while the Energy Information Administration (EIA) asserts that renewables are the fastest growing form of energy in the US.

Click here to read the full article.

11:01 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26.3 million – US gears up for early vaccine roll out

4 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths are nearing 869,000 with more than 26.3 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.13 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 186,293.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded more than four million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 2,723 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Friday, up from a previous record of 2,495 cases.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours. It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.

France: France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

Mexico: Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the United States at 1,077, the United Kingdom at 649, and Brazil at 634.

Thailand: Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.

South Korea: Doctors have agreed to end a two-week strike, which has hindered efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday, after overnight talks over the government’s medical reform plans, Reuters reports.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s new universal testing blitz has identified six infections, initial results showed a sign the campaign could uncover hidden infections despite limited participation.

Vaccine news

US: Authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine by 1 November when US health officials have told states to be prepared to distribute shots is “extremely unlikely but not impossible,” Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed told NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday.

Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September. The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference. The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.

UK: English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

Australia: Health minister Greg Hunt extended restrictions on international travel and the entry of cruise ships until 17 December to protect the country against the spread of the coronavirus.

Economic updates

Turkey: Turkey has extended by two months a layoff ban it introduced to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that most state and territory leaders in Australia were recommitted to opening up the country’s economy by December. But he didn’t secure an immediate agreement to lift the border restrictions hampering the recovery.


10:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – EDP reports 22% less net income in Q1+2 2020 – GE and CTCI receive five gas-fired generating unit orders

4 September

RWE has commenced the construction of its first ground-mounted solar project in the Limburg province of the Netherlands. Spread over 12 hectares, the Kerkrade solar farm will have a capacity of over 14MW. The deployment of nearly 36,000 solar modules will begin next year.

Portuguese power company EDP has registered a 22% decline in net income in the first half of 2020. This comes as a result of lower power consumption because of lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Iberia and Brazil. The company posted a net income of $373.46 (€315m) for the period. The volume of electricity sold in Iberia fell by 7%, while power consumption by customers in Brazil decreased by 9%.

General Electric and CTCI of Taiwan have received an EPC contract for five combined cycle gas-fired power generating units at two power plants in Taiwan. The contract encompasses works for three new generating units at the Hsinta Power Plant, which has 3.9GW installed capacity. It also covers work on two new generating units at the Taichung Power Plant, with 2.6GW installed capacity. Both plants are owned by state-owned Taiwan Power.

In its latest preliminary report, grid operator Red Electrica de Espana said that Spain produced 37.8% of total electricity from renewable sources in August. Wind power generation surged by 24.3% year-on-year to 3.59TWh, making it the top renewable electricity producer.

9:04 am

How healthcare investment can boost jobs

4 September

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust healthcare system for every country across the world.

Increasing healthcare investment can not only create new jobs amid the pandemic but also create a more productive population.

Amanda Larsson, campaigner with Greenpeace NZ, tweeted on how investment in care in the UK can create 2.7 times new jobs that are equivalent to investment in construction.

Investment in care can also create 6.3 times as many jobs for women and 10% more for men.

The tweet was based on report from the Women’s Budget Group, an independent think tank, on how investment in care can stimulate employment and reduce gender employment gap.

Developing a better care system will require a major proportion of the population to be employed in the healthcare sector thereby increasing the overall employment rate.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post highlights a looming unemployment crisis for the US.

Read more

2:02 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – Brazil and India near 4 million

3 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,062,000, with over 863,000 deaths and 17,315,000 recoveries.

In the majority of countries in the European, African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific regions, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while the Americas and South-East Asia continue to see a rise in daily cases.

The US, Brazil, and India primarily drive these increases due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Brazil and India are both now approaching 4 million cases.

Meanwhile, Israel set a record high with over 3,000 daily confirmed cases reported today.

This marks the country’s biggest one-day jump, and brings the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 123,000.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

2:00 pm

Right time for nuclear to play extended role along with renewables to deliver clean energy system, says GlobalData

With the world looking to consolidate ventures in cleaner and greener electricity sources post-Covid-19 pandemic, electricity from nuclear sources offer an option. In a study, the World Nuclear Association said the opportunity for governments to invest in nuclear energy, which addresses the Covid-19 crisis and manages issues such as climate change, air pollution and energy crisis.

Click here to read the full article.

9:54 am

Spain’s carbon era expected to come to an end as Covid-19 drives gas generation and renewables expansion

Spain has implemented strict steps during the Covid-19 pandemic, the most notable being the country shutting down eight of its coal-based generation units, as well as its decision to phase out coal-based generation by 2025. The low cost of gas is acting as a likely trigger for the country to extend gas-based electricity generation, moving away from the unviable coal-based power plants.

Click here to read the full article.

9:48 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – more than 863,000 deaths

3 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths passed 863,000 with more than 26 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The highest death toll is in the US, where 185,707 people have died.

Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right Covid-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.

Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials has found, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment.

US: The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,883 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking its tally to 3.85 million, just 100,000 behind Brazil, the world’s second most affected nation, health ministry data showed. According to Johns Hopkins, this is the second-highest one day total ever reported, with India breaking the world record on 26 August with more than 85,000 cases.

Australia:  Victoria state on Thursday reported a triple-digit rise in new Covid-19 infections for the first time in four days, denting optimism that the second wave of cases has been contained. The state said that 113 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours, an increase on the 90 infections reported on Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll appears to be easing for the first time since May, a sign the Latin American country could be descending from a long infection plateau that has seen it suffer the world’s second-worst outbreak after the United States.

Turkey: Turkey is seeing a second peak of its coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, its health minister has said, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.

France: Daily new Covid-19 infections in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday and the number of people hospitalised in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.

France reported 7,017 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the seven-day average increase to the highest since the outbreak began.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,311 to 246,166, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 195 new cases of coronavirus. That’s the lowest since August 17, according to Yonhap News Agency. While there are signs the spike that began last month is easing – thanks to stricter distancing rules – a record number of patients are in critical condition.

Lockdown updates

China: An Air China flight from Phnom Penh was the first international flight to land in Beijing after direct flights from eight countries were allowed to resume. Passengers must have tested negative for Covid-19 before they board and complete a 14-day government-run quarantine on arrival.

UK: The UK government is “anxiously monitoring” increasing hospital admissions in France and Spain, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Senegal exempts electrification equipment from VAT – SGRE receives 301MW turbine order in Morocco

3 September

The Indonesian government has told state-owned power company PLN to temporarily lower electricity rates for all lower-power homes and businesses, in order to revive the pandemic-hit economy. The power company will cut its electricity rate by 1.5%, the Jakarta Post reported.

Senegal has decided to exempt renewable energy production equipment from value-added tax (VAT) to promote rural electrification. The list of 22 VAT-exempted appliances includes solar panels, inverters, solar thermal collectors, batteries, solar lamp kits, solar water heaters kits, and charge regulators. It also includes biogas equipment.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has won a contract to supply wind turbines for the 301MW Boujdour wind farm project in Morocco. The contract covers the supply, transport, installation, commissioning and testing of 87 units of the SG 3.4-132 wind turbine, and a five-year service agreement.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the difference between the share of renewables and coal-fired power in India has lessened. The share of renewables jumped from 17% just before the pandemic to approximately 24%, and coal-fired power declined from 76% to 66% in India, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) data.

8:14 am

Australian unemployment hits 22 year high as economy tanks

3 September

The Australian economy officially entered recession as it posted two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Despite government measures such as increased spending and cutting interest rates to zero, the country has not been able to avoid a recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, shared an article on Australia entering recession for the first time in decades, following two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Even though the country was able to avoid any major impact from the 2008 global financial crisis, it has not been able to escape the impact of the pandemic.

Australia may find it difficult to recover in the post-Covid-19 scenario due to slowdown in growth of China, which is its biggest trade partner.

Further, the country may face other long-term problems such as climate change disasters including wildfires, wage growth stagnation and a housing bubble.

Unemployment levels also remain high at 7.5%, which is the worst in 22 years. The figures are expected to rise as the downturn continues.

Read more

2:46 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Trend still upwards – Covid cases near 25.8 million

2 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,785,000, with over 857,000 deaths and 17,095,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

This is primarily driven by increasing trends observed in Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

More specifically, the US, Brazil, and India contribute over 50% of cases to the global confirmed case burden, and over 40% of deaths to the global death toll.

Meanwhile, Indonesia continues to report a surge in daily confirmed cases, likely underestimated due to limited testing capacity.

As total confirmed cases surpass 180,000, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers, with Indonesia experiencing one of the highest mortality rates among this group compared with the rest of the world.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:40 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.7 million – US go alone on vaccine

2 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.7 million with more than 857,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The White House says it will send most of its newly-purchased 150 million rapid response Covid-19 tests to the states for schools, day care centres and emergency services.

President Donald Trump said thousands more people have died from the coronavirus in China than the Beijing government has acknowledged. China has reported 4,724 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — far fewer than the 184,644 deaths in the US, which has the highest number in the world.

South America: Latest figures show Mexico passed 600,000 cases and Colombia has racked up over 20,000 deaths, as the virus continues to take its toll in the Americas.

South Korea: The number of confirmed cases in South Korea fell for a fifth day after peaking at 441 last week, which was the biggest gain since early March. The government reported 267 new infections for 1 September, the fourth straight day below 300.

South Korean officials warned the high rate of infection among over-60s was placing strain on the country’s health system as it battles a second wave.

Ukraine: There has been a surge in cases in the Ukraine with a record 2,495 new cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 2,481 cases.

China: There have been another eight new cases of the virus in mainland China up to midnight on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday morning.

Germany: Germany has seen its new cases rise by 1,256 to 244,855, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Pakistan: Experts are puzzled by Pakistan’s relatively low number of cases and deaths. It has just under 300,000 infections compared with almost four million in neighbouring India.

Australia: Cases continue to ease in Australia’s south-eastern state of Victoria. The state confirmed 90 new cases on Wednesday, compared with a peak of more than 700 last month.

Thailand: Thailand has reported no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases for 100 straight days, joining a small group of places like Taiwan where the pathogen has almost been eliminated.

Vaccine news

US: The Trump administration says it will not work with other countries to develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine. It said it did not want to be constrained by “multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China”.

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. US stock futures rose after the nation’s top infectious disease official said that an independent panel could halt the trials before their expected conclusion at the end of the year.

Antibodies humans make to fight the coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly, countering concerns to the contrary. US scientists said their study of 30,000 Icelanders offered hope that a vaccine could produce sustained resistance.

Japan: Japan is considering offering a vaccine free of charge to every citizen, according to Kyodo news agency.

Lockdown updates

Scotland: The Scottish government is re-imposing a ban on household gatherings in three local authorities in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area for the next two weeks amid alarm about rising infections in recent days.

China: State media in China is reporting that people in the far western region of Xinjiang have resumed “normal life order and production” after a sudden spike in cases last month.

South Korea: South Korea imposed stronger social-distancing regulations in the greater Seoul area from 30 August to 6 September.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia has slumped into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years as the coronavirus pandemic finally ended its record run of economic prosperity.

India: India is considering extending its flagship rural jobs program to urban workers hurt by lockdowns. The new program would start in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion), said Sanjay Kumar, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


9:45 am

Second wave Covid-19 threatens manufacturing bounce back

2 September

Manufacturing activity is slowly returning to normal levels as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to EY ITEM Club, shared an article on the increase in global manufacturing levels.

Manufacturing activity increased to a 21-month high of 51.8 in August supported by stimulus packages across Europe, Asia and North America.

However, the recovery is expected to be uneven as new waves of infections curb business activity.

The resurgence of infections is discouraging companies to boost capital expenditure thereby delaying the rebound in the industry.

Experts note that recovery in manufacturing activity will grow at a modest pace, although China’s manufacturing activity has expanded at the fastest rate compared to other countries.

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