COVID-19 and The Energy Industry
[LAST UPDATED: October 6, 2020]

There's hardly any facet of human society that has escaped the effects of the novel coronavirus, and the energy industry is no exception.

Early on, recognizable effects on the sector centered on worldwide hydrocarbon markets and other international supply chains such as those for solar panel components. As time went on, we started learning about COVID-19's effects on energy usage, the continuity of operations protocols that utilities have in place, and a variety of other emerging patterns in the interaction between the pandemic and energy.

Today, with the growing amount of available data, there's a vibrant public discussion underway about the obstacles - as well as opportunities - which are emerging for the worldwide transition to a greener and more resilient energy supply system as a result of the pandemic.

On this page, you will find a curated list of the best articles and other resources about the following topics:

  • The overall state of the global outbreak
  • The situation surrounding the outbreak in Japan
  • The impact of the outbreak on the energy industry both globally and within Japan

Current State of the Outbreak

For basic information about the virus as well as the current state of the outbreak, you should check reliable sources including:

Coronavirus Cases Around the World

Source: John Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

Coronavirus Cases in Japan

Source: WHO & Tokyo Government

The Japanese Power Market and the State of Emergency

Sources: JEPX, Tesla Asia Pacific, Occto

COVID-19 Impact on the Japanese Energy Industry

Below are some of the most important news and developments regarding the impact of the novel coronavirus on the Japanese energy industry.

Interview with Hisahide Okuda of JERA Co., Inc.

Mr. Okuda made a key point - that while infection of power plant operations staff would present a threat to normal plant operations, an even bigger likely operational risk is that quarantine requirements for people who have been in close contact with infected people could put a serious dent in the pool of operators available to keep the plants running.

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What the Fukushima meltdowns taught us about how to respond to coronavirus

An outstanding analytical piece on lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident highly applicable to the way governments handle COVID-19 by leaders of nonprofit Safecast.

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The Establishment of “Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures Headquarters”

On February 27 the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan announced the establishment of a “Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures Headquarters.”

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Utilities Extend Payment Deadlines

On March 19, 2020, the Nikkei newspaper reported that major electricity, gas, mobile phone and even home internet service providers are offering extended deadlines for payment of bills at the request of the Japanese government.

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COVID-19 Impact on the Global Energy Industry

Outside of Japan, COVID-19 has been having effects on the energy industry, as well. Besides immediate effects, many are also predicting larger shifts in trends in the industry that might happen because of the current outbreak. Below are five articles worth taking a look at.

COVID-19 lockdown is already affecting some greenhouse gas emissions

Nitrogen dioxide emissions in Italy drastically decrease due to lockdown.

CBC News, March 20, 2020

How Coronavirus Makes The Case For Renewable Energy

COVID-19 brings into focus a purely economic argument for renewables.

Forbes, March 13, 2020

The Post-Virus Economic Recovery Could Be a Green One

Argument that now is the most opportune moment for investment in cleantech to "boost the economy, create jobs, and build climate resilience.”

Bloomberg Green, March 18, 2020

U.S. power industry may ask key employees to live at work if coronavirus worsens

US power industry considers extreme measures to assure stability of operations.

Reuters, March 20, 2020

Solar and batteries in demand as Coronavirus encourages shift to “self-reliance”

On the heels of the recent devastating fires in Australia, coronavirus gives citizens yet another reason not to depend on the grid.

One Step Off the Grid, March 19, 2020

Additional Reading

If you are interested in learning more about the impact of the recent coronavirus outbreak on the energy industry in Japan and around the world, we also recommend reading the following articles:

October 6, 2020 UPDATE

September 29, 2020 UPDATE

September 22, 2020 UPDATE

September 15, 2020 UPDATE

September 8, 2020 UPDATE

September 1, 2020 UPDATE

August 25, 2020 UPDATE

August 18, 2020 UPDATE

August 11, 2020 UPDATE

August 4, 2020 UPDATE

July 28, 2020 UPDATE

July 21, 2020 UPDATE

July 14, 2020 UPDATE

July 7, 2020 UPDATE

June 30, 2020 UPDATE

June 22, 2020 UPDATE

June 16, 2020 UPDATE

June 9, 2020 UPDATE

June 2, 2020 UPDATE

May 26, 2020 UPDATE

May 19, 2020 UPDATE

May 12, 2020 UPDATE

May 5, 2020 UPDATE

April 28, 2020 UPDATE

April 20, 2020 UPDATE

April 13, 2020 UPDATE

April 7, 2020 UPDATE