While electric utilities and renewable energy associations have noted the negative impact of the pandemic on employment, performance and supply chains in their industries, energy storage seems to be doing relatively well.
A new report released by the Energy Storage Association (ESA), “U.S. Energy Storage Association Survey Reveals COVID-19 Impacts on Storage Industry Revenue and Employment,” noted that, while 63% of respondents anticipated a decrease in revenue, only 33% of those expected a 20% or greater reduction; 75% did not expect to have to reduce employment at all. Of the 25% who did expect to have to reduce employment, most expected reductions of 20% or less.
The news is even better for those who implement and install storage projects, such as electrical contractors. Specifically, the report noted, “The manufacturing segment of the industry expected more widespread and deeper revenue reductions than the industry segment that includes developers and installers who implement storage projects.”
While other industries are currently experiencing or expecting downturns in the near future and beyond, this is not the case for the storage industry.
The report continued, “[It] is clear the energy storage industry expects a deep, albeit brief, revenue downturn this quarter. Most companies are focused on retaining their employees during this time in order to better prepare and respond once business returns.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the energy storage industry tremendously,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the ESA. “While we still anticipate year-over-year growth, it is clear our industry is suffering with immediate and significant risks of workforce reduction and economic damage.”
While the ESA is of course concerned with these short-term downturns for its own members directly, its real concern is how the pandemic will affect customers.
“These delays upend grid reliability and resilience efforts, just as we enter fire and hurricane season, and as states, towns, and utilities are beginning to incorporate energy storage systems as backup power to prevent power system disruptions for critical healthcare facilities,” Speakes-Backman said.