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How has Covid-19 affected the Renewables sector?

Posted by: Sharon Dunleavy
15/01/21

As international efforts to tackle climate change increase, combined with a reduction in the demand for fossil fuels, it’s predicted the renewable energy sector will see huge growth in the coming years. In 2020, despite the pandemic, the sector saw massive investment, doubling the share values for some organisations, compared to 2019 (www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/10/renewable-energy-covid-19-record-growth-2020)

Looking forward, we can already see the global appetite for cleaner energy, with the following examples reported in Renews.biz this week:

  • Plans for almost 40GW of new electricity generating capacity to start commercial operation this year in the US, according to its Energy Information Administration (EIA)
  • Total and Engie signing a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build and operate what is being billed as the largest renewable hydrogen production site in France.
  • The European Investment Bank is to provide €65m to finance two onshore wind farms in Portugal with a total capacity of 125MW.
  • Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has entered into an agreement with wave energy developer Bombora to identify wave energy potential across Japan.
  • Siemens Gamesa has secured its first turbine order in Ethiopia with state-owned utility Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) for the 100MW Assela wind farm. Ethiopia has set a target to supply 100% of its domestic energy demand through clean power by 2030.

We sat down with our Renewables team to gain their perspectives on the past year, and what they see for the future of the Renewables sector. 

            

How has Covid 19 impacted the Renewable energy sector?

Sean - Apart from projects being placed on hold in the short term, overall, the renewable energy sector has brushed Covid aside! We are seeing projects all over the world get the green light for development and investment.

Charles - Lockdowns in the APAC region, delayed some construction of renewable energy infrastructures. Employment activity in some countries within the sector, was also impacted as companies needed to hire locally, due to the travel restrictions imposed. However, companies are quickly adapting and new ‘travel lanes’ are opening to offset this short downturn.

Chloe - The sector has shown great resilience during the pandemic, throughout 2020. During the initial lockdowns last year, there were some disruptions and delays to the construction of renewable energy projects in key markets, however most installations and construction projects have returned to normal in many countries. Developers, operators and manufacturers have modified and adapted to cope. There have been, some issues with travel in and out of different countries, however most in-country recruitment has continued with employers offering options for remote working. This is becoming the new normal!

What do you feel has been your greatest moment for 2020?

Chloe – 2020 offered me the chance to be part of the renewable energy division which has been exciting and rewarding. During an unpredictable year, multiple lockdowns, working from home, and dealing with an uncertain market, we have managed to partner with a number of energy companies and support them in their recruitment for some global, multi-million-pound projects.

Peter - My greatest moment was joining WRS and having the opportunity to grow the renewables division in America, which only has exciting times ahead.

Martha – I am proud that in 2020 we have not let Covid-19 disrupt recruitment at WRS. We’ve adapted and found new creative ways to partner with clients. Understanding the impact of Covid on the Client has been key to creating new opportunities during the pandemic.

Do you see exciting opportunities for 2021?

Sean - Without a doubt. We are witnessing a huge shift away from traditional energy sources with government and public backing all over the world. As we progress through 2021, we’re going to see advancements in technological capabilities, such as floating offshore wind and green hydrogen captures. We also expect further cooperation between nations working towards reducing our carbon emissions which can only mean more projects. Renewable energy is at the forefront of everybody’s mind for 2021, and we’re excited to be a small part of a greener future.

Peter - Renewables has massive potential in America, with the new President devoted to making renewables the main source of energy. Solar is still growing, and wind power is starting to get traction with a number of the large oil majors, who are making the switch to clean energy. Energy Storage, also continues to be on everyone’s radar.

Do you have any interesting stories about filling a vacancy? Was it more difficult than usual?

Chloe - During early 2020, I filled two vacancies for a long-term client of ours. These placements required relocation, and the implications of COVID-19 put this on hold. This created some uncertainty as to whether the placements would remain. Could the client wait? Would the candidate remain interested? Fortunately, the answer to both these questions was yes and the candidates were placed and relocated later in the year. It shows that perseverance in times of uncertainty is the way forward!

ABOUT WRS

WRS can save you time and money by supporting internal resources, providing you with the best pre-qualified candidates when you need them. We are a workforce solutions company with offices in Europe, the Middle East, APAC and the Americas, supporting the needs of businesses around the world. We employ specialist sector consultants, who can help you to identify the expatriate and local personnel you need to keep your business moving forward.

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