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Drops in oil and gas prices traditionally were bad news for renewable energy, because lower prices for fossil fuels often spurred their more widespread use. But that is not happening now. Instead, analysts suggest money that would have gone to the oil and gas sector is being directed toward renewables like solar, wind, and energy storage. Analysts with Raymond James & Associates said utilities, noting the drops in demand for power and associated revenue shortfalls, will try to get more electricity from renewables, because solar and wind farms cost less to operate than coal and natural gas-fired power plants.

“COVID-19 accelerates what was already true—the real future opportunities for investment in the energy sector are renewables,” Ken Pedotto, CEO of Solar Simplified, told POWER. “With lower demand for energy in general, this is more evident than ever before.”

The IEA said total energy demand in 2020 in the U.S. will fall 9% compared to 2019, with an 11% year-over-year drop forecast for the European Union (EU). The agency, along with many energy analysts, predicts the demand decline will predominantly impact fossil fuels; it forecasts an 8% drop in demand for coal this year compared to 2019, the largest decrease since World War II.

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