COVID-19 Affects Energy Sector, Climate

Eva Baker, Reporter

According to a study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there has been about a 30% decrease of nitrogen dioxide, a byproduct from burning fossil fuels. 

COVID-19 has affected more than just the health of the general public; it has also affected the energy sector. As more people are working from home, there has been an energy shift. At the moment, powering skyscrapers and schools and other businesses is not necessary. The energy is used to power individual homes instead. Even with the increase of technology usage at home, there is still a decrease in the overall amount of energy used since they are no longer powering larger buildings.

This is evident in the decrease of fuel prices too. The price of gasoline has dropped significantly as there isn’t as high of a demand for it as before, according to researchers at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

The decrease in energy levels and nitrogen dioxide greatly improves the environment and the health benefits according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nitrogen dioxide has been linked to aggravating respiratory conditions such as asthma and increased wheezing and coughing. This gas has also been linked to damaging ecosystems through acid rainfall.

Despite the decrease in energy consumption and decrease in harmful gases leaked into the environment, it still seems this situation could lead to more harm than good. The decrease in energy consumption has also decreased the renewable energy consumption. According to a study by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), 106,472 clean energy workers have filed for unemployment. It is predicted that more than 500,000 workers will be out of employment. 

Additionally, the lockdown on China has decreased their ability to manufacture supplies needed for renewable energy sources such as solar panels. With the outbreak, governments are expected to cut the budget on renewable energy sources and transfer more into the medical field to help COVID-19. These factors are expected to cause a decrease in renewable energy,  according to a study done through the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies

To combat the threat of losing renewable energy, New York has passed The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. This act is intended to increase cost-effective renewable energy projects and give back to the community.