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Coronavirus / Industry News

March 23, 2020

Nation’s Power Grid Faces Potential Pandemic-Driven Demand Drop

As more states require businesses to close and residents to stay home, the nation’s power grid suppliers face the potential of a dramatic demand drop.

In Italy, according to E&E News, electricity demand dropped off by as much as 20 percent once quarantine measures took effect.

"We're on day three or four of this [in the United States], but we've already seen impacts," Adam Jones, director of power analytics at Genscape, which tracks electricity markets, told E&E News.

A lengthy demand drop could force U.S. power suppliers to cut back or delay grid or power plant projects. It would also increase the pressure on coal-powered plants, which are already struggling to compete with more efficient natural-gas-powered plants.

"I think the biggest impact could be to development plans for new plants," IHS Markit Director Wade Schafer told E&E News. "You could see investment decisions delayed."

New wind and solar projects are unlikely to be as hard hit because they are driven more by federal tax credits.

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