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E&E News: Coronavirus Threatens the Energy Sector. Here's Why

E&E News covered how the recent Coronavirus in China has negatively affected the U.S. energy market, noting AEE has not observed impact in solar market yet. Read excerpts below and the entire E&E News piece here. 

Since the first reports of the deadly coronavirus, oil prices have stumbled, shipments of U.S. liquefied natural gas have gone undelivered, production of solar equipment has languished, and two manufacturers of electric vehicles — Hyundai and Kia — have halted production at some of their factories. Concerns are now growing about the energy sector as work slowdowns and transportation bottlenecks in China have a ripple effect because of the country's manufacturing dominance and its role as a top consumer of oil and natural gas...

The U.S. wind and solar industries are closely monitoring a work stoppage instituted because of the virus that is due to be lifted today in eight Chinese provinces. Southeast Asian companies that sell many of the solar panels used in U.S. installations tend to source key raw materials in China. So far, say analysts, the stoppages haven't dramatically upset supplies of wind turbine and solar panel parts. But that might change if factory closures and quarantines continue — particularly for solar, since the industry is more deeply dependent on China than the supply chain for wind, they said.

About 90% of the silicon "wafers" used in the United States — the bedrock of solar cells — originate in China, said Xiaoting Wang, a San Francisco-based solar analyst at BloombergNEF. Producers probably have enough raw materials stockpiled to meet supply over the next few weeks, she added, but eventually a shortage could ripple through the rest of the supply chain for solar panels...

Already, some analysts expect prices of some solar products, including panels themselves, to rise in the near term. In a Jan. 30 note, one senior researcher for an investment bank said the industry had already begun to experience "shortages of wafers and possibly glass." The analyst, Philip Shen from Roth Capital Partners, noted that the work stoppages had affected provinces where major solar manufacturers like LONGi and JA Solar site their operations. Some manufacturers had remained at least partly open during the stoppage. Representatives of U.S. industries, including the Solar Energy Industries Association and Advanced Energy Economy, said they had heard little from members about the coronavirus...

Read entire E&E News piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News