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Coronavirus: A timeline of how the deadly COVID-19 outbreak is evolving

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indian electricity sales register 13% rise in September quarter – Solar power dwindles in Europe

22 October

Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) registered sales of 16,486 million units (MU) in Q3, a 13.2% growth from the previous quarter. The increased sales were attributed to multiple factors including rise in power demand, reopening of industrial and economic activities and lifting of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions in the country.

Hydro and wind power dominated the renewable energy sector in Europe while solar power generation dropped, as the continent emerged from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The solar power generated declined to 35.1TWh in the third quarter from 47.6TWh in the June quarter, according to data from Enappsys.

American power utility companies Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Duke Energy restarted disconnecting electricity to customers in Volusia and Flagler counties in Florida for the non-payment of bills. The companies refrained from taking action for several months taking into consideration the rising coronavirus cases and the resulting lockdown restrictions. While Duke Energy resumed disconnecting electricity to customers defaulting on payments in September, FPL started cutting off power in October.

Wholesale electricity prices declined by almost 50% in the third quarter to a six year low, according to data from Australian Energy Market Operator. Covid-19 induced lockdown combined with use of rooftop solar panels by Australians contributed to the the decline. The gas prices during the third quarter also fell by almost half from corresponding period in 2019, predominantly due to 5% decline in fossil fuel demand.

10:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Virginia plans to write off power utility customers’ debts – Africa electricity developments slowed by Covid-19

21 October

Power utility customers in the US state of Virginia, who defaulted on their payments for at least a month, will have their debts cancelled through the federal Covid-19 relief funds. The write-off is subject to the governor retaining the existing language in the budget bill. The state’s utility companies, except Dominion Energy, will have access to $100m worth relief funds, which will be disbursed by the State Corporation Commission.

The coronavirus pandemic has left several people without access to electricity in Africa for the first time in almost a decade. The progress made by the country in electrification is expected to be reversed due to the pandemic according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The pandemic cast a shadow over Africa’s health and economic sectors, leaving major utilities without access to resources required to enhance electricity access in the region, the report stated.

9:37 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ausgrid to cut 230 jobs – Aiko Solar reports record revenue growth in third quarter

20 October

Australian electricity distribution company Ausgrid has announced plans to cut 230 back-office and managerial jobs due to the tough market conditions arising out of the pandemic. The job cuts will be implemented from January 2021 and are part of an organisational restructure originally announced in 2019.

Evergy, an electricity provider in the US, is seeking permission from Kansas Corporation Commission and the Missouri Public Service Commission to track the costs incurred and the losses made due to the pandemic. These costs may eventually be incorporated into the electricity rates charged by Evergy, if the regulators approve.

Aiko Solar, a solar cell manufacturer, announced a 49.45% year-on-year increase in revenue in the first nine months of 2020. The company’s profits declined by 68% year-on-year in the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic but record revenues of $382.9m in the third quarter helped the company exceed its previous year revenues.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Scatec Solar registers quarterly loss – Solar power set to “dominate” the energy market

19 October

Power consumption in India increased by 11.45% in the first two weeks of October compared to the same period in 2019, due to the reopening of industrial and commercial establishments after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. The first half of October registered power consumption of 55.37 billion units (BU), while overall electricity utilised in October 2019 was 97.84BU.

Norwegian solar power company Scatec Solar reported losses in Q3 despite increase in revenues from power production and EBITDA amid the Covid-19 restrictions. The company’s EBITDA jumped to $40.5m from $31m but could not counterbalance the EBITDA losses from the development and construction division which slumped to $2.9m.

A new report from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) has noted that solar energy is poised to meet one-third of the world’s electricity demand. The report claimed that solar energy consumption is set to increase 13% annually through the next decade. The factors contributing to rise in solar photovoltaic (PV) generation are: policy support from a majority of the countries, availability of resources and plummeting production costs.

9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – National Grid foresees lower winter energy demand in UK – Germany to drop renewable surcharge

16 October

National Grid, UK’s transmission system operator, has said in a report that the country has a decreased risk of winter blackouts this year due to reduced energy demand. The demand for electricity will decline by 2.4GW over winter compared to the previous year, as more people work from home and avoid public places due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Germany has announced plans to reduce the surcharge paid by consumers for renewable power, leading to lower electricity bills from 2021. The average household with three persons will see electricity prices drop by 1%, save an average of $14 (€12) annually. The country originally introduced the surcharge to promote renewable power generation and reduce carbon emissions.

According to speakers at the Energy Transition and Covid-19 roundtable, the Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the energy transtition in the European Union. It has also proven that power grids can handle larger amounts of renewable energy. Speakers said this should serve as an example for Serbia‘s energy transition, which is still beginning. The Serbian energy and mining ministry said the country will formulate a National Energy and Climate Plan to meet its renewable energy development goals.

11:06 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IEA energy outlook predicts energy future – SSE plans to sell Yorkshire assets

14 October

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its World Energy Outlook 2020 report. The Agency forecasts a 5% fall in energy demand during 2020, as a result of Covid-19. This compares to a 12% increase predicted before the pandemic. The agency also said peak oil has yet to come, contradicting predictions by other analysts.

SSE plans to sell its 50% stake in energy projects in Yorkshire, UK, to an investment fund. The Scottish firm will receive $1288m (£995m) in cash in return for the stake sale. Proceeds from this sale will go towards low-carbon energy infrastructure investment before 2025, and cutting the company’s debts. Recently, SSE affirmed plans to make big payouts to investors despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Engie and Mitsui sold a stake of 75% in their jointly owned Australian Renewable Energy Trust to Infrastructure Capital Group. Although terms of the deal have not been disclosed, Reuters valued the deal at $287m (A$400m), citing a person familiar with the deal.

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IEA says coal demand has peaked, oil peak in 2030 – Vietnamese wind farm applies for 1GW extension

13 October

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will accelerate the world’s transition to cleaner sources of energy. The agency stated that coal demand is unlikely to return to pre-Covid-19 levels, and would account for less than 20% of energy consumption by 2040. Oil would remain “vulnerable to the major economic uncertainties resulting from the pandemic,” with demand starting to fall after 2030, the agency said.

Mainstream Renewable Power, in a joint venture with Phu Cuong Group, has applied to increase the size of the Phu Cuoong Soc Trang wind farm in Vietnam to 1.4GW. The wind farm was initially planned to have 400MW capacity. Construction will begin on the first 200MW of Phase 1 in the third quarter of next year.

India’s financial capital Mumbai and neighboring areas have experienced widespread power cuts attributed to grid failure. The outages disrupted essential services, including hospitals treating critically Covid-19 patients. The power supply was restored after 15 hours, at around 2am on Tuesday. Power consumption in India registered a 4.6% year-on-year growth in September, increasing to 112.4TWh. In the first half of the year, power consumption in the country declined by 8.5% year-on-year, only reaching 625.6TWh due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

10:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Rosatom launches battery subsidiary – Iran to decommission plants to raise average efficiency

12 October

Russian nuclear power giant Rosatom has created subsidiary RENERA to mark its entry into the energy storage business. The new venture will develop and market lithium-ion traction batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. Its current project portfolio consists of more than 120 ongoing and completed projects for the supply of lithium-ion energy storage devices.

Pacifico Energy has started construction on a 53.9MW DC solar power generation plant in Sano-shi, Tochigi Prefecture in Japan. Juwi Shizen Energy has been named as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project. The solar plant will commence commercial operations in 2022, generating nearly 62 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually once commissioned.

Iran’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Co has decided to decommission its most well-used thermal power plants to increase the average efficiency of all power plants in the country. The preliminary measures for decommissioning Tarasht, Rey, and Be’sat power plants in Tehran have already begun.

Hellenic Petroleum has concluded the acquisition of the 204MW solar photovoltaic projects in Greece from Germany-based Juwi Holding. Located in an area of Kozani, the $154m (€130m) project is in the final permitting stage. It comprises the construction of 18 PV systems.

10:06 am

Coronavirus company news summary – NTPC establishes renewable energy subsidiary – Lekela begins operations at 110MW wind farm

9 October

State-owned energy companies in Poland plan to start separating coal-based generation assets from the rest of their business in 2021, as burning coal has become costly and deters banks from providing financing. Poland generates over 70% of its electricity from coal, and is the only country in the European Union which has refused to pledge climate neutrality by 2050.

India’s state-run power company NTPC has established a wholly-owned renewable energy subsidiary, known as NTPC Renewable Energy. The venture comes after the company receiving approval from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, and Niti Aayog in August.

Lekela has announced that the 110MW Perdekraal East wind farm in South Africa has started commercial operations. The project features 48 Siemens Gamesa 2.3-108 turbines and will provide approximately 360GWh of electricity per year.

Electricity demand in India rose by 13.65% during the first week of October. Demand reached 25.95TWh as industrial and commercial activities increased after the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to the power ministry. This stood at 22.83TWh in the same period last year. In the full month of October last year, power consumption stood at 97.84TWh. Extrapolating the current level of consumption is likely to see year-on-year growth this month, reported PTI.

10:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – North American energy projects maintain value through Covid – MHI Vestas to install 90 turbines in UK

7 October

In its latest report, Fitch Ratings has said that North American energy projects have generally weathered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic well. The rating agency affirmed its outlook for 37 of its 46 energy projects in North America, and revised the outlook of five projects to negative. It also downgraded the outlook of three projects; and placed one project on Rating Watch Negative.

Consumption of electricity in the US is expected to fall by 2.3% in 2020 as Covid-19 induced lockdowns impacted businesses, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Electricity demand is expected to fall to 3,809 TWh this year, against 3,896 TWh last year. In 2021, the administration expects consumption to remain steady, at 3,806 TWh.

Swedish wind power developer Eolus has signed a deal to sell the 46.5MW Wind Wall 1 wind farm in the US to Cubico Sustainable Investments. The project is located near Tehachapi, California, and is Eolus’ first wind project developed, financed, and constructed in the US. The project will comprise of 13 wind turbines, whcih will be commissioned during the fall of this year.

Turbine maker MHI Vestas has started preparatory works to install turbines at the Triton Knoll project in the UK. The company plans to install 90 of its V164-9.5 MW in the first quarter of 2021. The company has moved in to Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool, which will serve as the turbine logistics and pre-assembly hub for the project.

11:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UK pledges wind generation investment – US domestic solar installation set to break records

6 October

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged £160m to upgrade ports and factories for the construction of offshore turbines. The pledge follows an election pledge, and forms part of the British government’s Covid-19 recovery stimulus. In a conference speech, Johnson has said wind will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of all domestic consumption by 2030. Commentators have suggested the speech aims to distract from continuous negative headlines concerning the government’s handling of the pandemic. The investment plan is aimed at creating 2,000 jobs in construction.

A report has suggests America’s residential solar industry is set for a record-breaking year after a dip during the outbreak of Covid-19. BloombergNEF has forecast 3GW of residential-solar installations, with another 3.6GW expected to be installed next year. BloombergNEF analyst Tara Narayanan said the push for renewables ‘ has allowed the sector to shake off the worst of the plague and some natural disasters’.

The Prime Minsiters of India and Israel have agreed to hold a digital conference on innovation in solar energy, and to continue and advance bilateral cooperation in fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the cooperation, the countries will jointly aim to develop inexpensive solar solutions.

5:19 pm

Coronavirus company news summary – Japanese industry ministry to assist in transition – Fifth phase funding for UAE solar project

5 October

Japan’s Trade and Industry Ministry (Meti) has sought an increase in its budget to assist the country’s shift to low-carbon energy. Japan has also started phasing out coal-fired power plants, as cuts to greenhouse gas emissions as a result of Covid-19 have pushed the country’s decarbonisation strategy forward. Meti seeks a budget increase to $4.65bn (JPY490.2bn) in the 21-22 fiscal year, an increase of $620m (JPY64.3bn) over what its original allocation.

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corp has signed an agreement with Shuaa Energy 3 to provide $70.5m for the development of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, UAE. The deal was sponsored by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, ACWA Power and the Gulf Investment Corp. The $564m 900MW solar photovoltaic plant forms part of Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 as well as Clean Energy Strategy 2050.

The Indian city of Delhi has almost reached its pre-Covid-19 of power demand, as economic activity increases under its ‘Unlock’ process. In September 2020, power demand was 5.9% lower than in September 2019. Power distribution company officials were quoted by PTI as saying: “In April, during the height of the Covid-19-induced lockdown, there was around 40% difference in comparison to the peak power demand of 2019. This gap reduced to just about 5.9% in September. The peak power demand in September 2019 was 6,626 MW, while it was 6,231 MW this year.”

10:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indian power company targets 340TWh of generation – Vestas receives order for 109MW of turbines

1 October

India-based power generation utility NTPC is targeting a revenue of $13.2bn (Rs980bn) for financial year 2020-21. In a statement, a company spokesperson said: “NTPC, India’s largest power producer, will aim for a revenue of Rs980bn from operations and 340TWh of electricity generation as part of its memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Power for financial year 2020-21.” This announcement comes in the wake of power demand dipping in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed a contract with the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company for VVER-440 nuclear fuel for the Rivne nuclear power plant. The parties also signed a letter of intent on further exploring localisation of fuel assembly component production in Ukraine.

Mainstream Renewable Power has placed an order with Vestas for the 109 MW Ckani wind park, to be located in the Antofagasta region of Chile. The contract features the supply and installation of 26 V150-4.2 MW wind turbines, as well as an Active Output Management 5000 service agreement for the operation and maintenance of the wind park over the next two decades.

9:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Renewables support 11.5m jobs worldwide – Vistra announces net zero plans and coal exit

30 September

GE Steam Power has finished a major steam turbine and generator outage at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. The outage was originally planned for April, but was deferred until this month as Covid-19 spread across the region. The work was completed in 30 days.

A record 11.5 million jobs were supported by the global renewable energy sector in 2019, according to a report. However, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said governments will need to come up with strong policy action to ensure continued employment expansion in the Covid-19 era. Nearly 63% of all renewables jobs were generated in Asia. Photovoltaic generation accounted for 33% of global renewables jobs with a total of 3.8 million employed, the report added.

Energy company Vistra has unveiled plans to break ground on nearly 1GW of renewable generation and energy storage projects, and retire its entire Midwest coal fleet. In doing this, it aims to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. These new developments are expected to require a capital investment of approximately $850m.

Vestas has secured a new 25MW contract from PNE for the Boitzenhagen wind project in Lower Saxony, Northern Germany. As per the agreement, Vestas will deliver one V126-3.45 MW turbine at 137m hub height, and six V136-3.45 MW turbines delivered in 3.6MW power mode at 132m hub height. It also involves supply, installation, and commissioning of the wind turbines as well as 20-year service agreement.

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Canadian hydroelectric project sees rising costs – Vattenfall opens floating solar plant

29 September

Canada-based Nalcor Energy said the cost of its Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project has gone up drastically due to delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for the state-owned firm said the project would need an additional investment of approximately $56m (C$75) due to pandemic-related delays. Covid-19-related costs to the project were approximately $112m (C$150m).

Swedish power company Vattenfall has opened its first 1.2MW floating solar farm in Gendringen, the Netherlands. Built on a site owned by sand and gravel extraction company Netterden, the 3,000-panel project will generate half of the annual energy consumption of the sand dredge and associated equipment.

Vestas Wind Systems has secured a contract from infrastructure investor TINC to deliver wind turbines to its 80MW wind project in the Netherlands. The deal encompasses the supply, installation, and commissioning of 19 units of the V117-4.2 MW turbines. These will be installed at the Kroningswind wind farm, in the south-western Netherlands.

Power demand in India rose by nearly 3% year-on-year in September, as economic activity gained momentum despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In August, power demand was 2% lower than the same period one year ago. According to data shared by Power System Operation Corporation, power demand in the country’s industrial states including Gujarat and Maharashtra increased over last year but was below the September 2018 level.

9:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Hitachi ABB Power Grids expects strong recovery – Korean investors end coal power support

28 September

Hitachi ABB Power Grids CEO Claudio Facchin told Reuters the company will reach the upper end of its 2025 targets, despite the impact pandemic downturn. Facchin said: “Covid-19 has a negative impact on us in 2020 and 2021… but by 2023 and 2024, we should not see any more effect. We expect an actual positive swing when the recovery and stimulus packages kick in.” The power grids business was acquired by Hitachi for $11bn from ABB.

South Korea-based KB Financial Group has decided to cease financing the construction of coal-fired power plants inside and outside the country in a bid to combat global climate change. The group will instead increase its investment in renewable energy businesses and the issuance of ESG bonds, The Korea Herald reported, citing the company’s officials.

Vestas has received a 144MW turbine order from Terna Energy for the Karystia wind project in the prefecture of Evia, Greece. As per the terms of the contract, Vestas will supply and install 40 V105-3.45 MW wind turbines delivered in 3.6MW Power Optimised Mode. It also includes a ten-year Active Output Management 5000 service agreement.

Solar power projects under construction in India face greater risks due to the numerous uncertainties caused by Covid-19-related lockdowns. According to a report by ratings agency India Ratings, solar power generation in Q1 of the financial year 2020-21 was 3%-4% lower than the same period one year ago.

10:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – World bank approves $450m Pakistan funding – BNRG receives 20-year contract for Maine power

25 September

The World Bank has approved $450m in financing to support Pakistan’s transition to renewable energy resources. World Bank country director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine said: “This will facilitate the expansion of renewable energy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by identifying and preparing solar and hydropower projects that are technically sound, environmentally and socially sustainable, and investment ready.”

The Texas Municipal Power Agency is holding negotiations with Charah Solutions to decommission and sell Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station and Reservoir in Grimes County, US. Charah will take control of the 6,166-acre site including the closed power station, the 3,500-acre reservoir, dam, and spillway through its subsidiary Gibbons Creek Environmental Redevelopment Group.

Irish solar energy BNRG has received new contracts to supply electricity to utilities Central Maine Power and Versant Power in the US state of Maine for 20 years. The deals, which the company won through its joint venture with local player Dirigo Solar, boosts its total investment in the state to $291m (€250m), The Irish Times reported.

US-based utility Dynegy has signed a multi-year partnership with Chicago’s Willis Tower to provide renewable-generated electricity to the tower. As per the contract, Dynegy will use energy credits to ensure all supplied electricity comes from wind power.


9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US utility invests $1bn in energy efficiency – European bank offers $3.5bn for renewable generation

24 September

US-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co has received approval from New Jersey regulators to invest $1bn in energy efficiency programmes over the next three years. The investments would cut customer bills by nearly $1bn, and create up to 4,300 jobs. Ralph Izzo, chief executive of parent company Public Service Enterprise Group, told Reuters this would help the state recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, .

The European Investment Bank has announced plans to offer $3.55bn (€3bn) to accelerate renewable energy generation around the globe. Several renewable energy projects in Europe will use the funding, including construction of wind projects off the Dutch coast, similar projects in Bosnia, and the renovation of a hydropower plant in Georgia.

Elgin Energy has formed a joint venture with Foresight Group to develop a pipeline of greenfield solar projects across the UK. As per the agreement, the new venture will develop six projects with a total generating capacity of 200MW in England, Wales, and Scotland.

GE Renewable Energy has received three orders for its 2.X onshore wind turbines from Invenergy. The deal includes GE’s 2.X-127 and 2.X-116 turbines. The 576MW, 187-turbine order will power the equivalent of over 160,000 average homes across three US states.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Renewables on track in India and Colombia – Tanzanian hydro project falls behind

23 September

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said that despite disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, investment capital for renewable projects in India remains ample. IEEFA added that government policies and a collapse in electricity demand have disrupted the country’s renewable energy capacity tendering and commissioning process. IEEFA research analyst Kashish Shah said despite these setbacks renewables have proved resilient, with investment capital available for new projects with favourable risk-return profiles.

Colombian renewables association SER has said wind and solar power projects in the country remain on schedule despite coronavirus. More than 2GW of capacity are expected to finish construction by 2022. SER executive director Germán Corredor told BNamericas that an initial pause, coinciding with the start of lockdowns in March, has now given way to activity.

On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the Regional Rusumo Fall Hydroelectric Project in Tanzania. Rusumo Hydro plant manager Eng Patrick Lwesya said that the original deadline for completion was February this year, but it has now been rescheduled to December next year. So far, 74% of work on the plant is completed.

Solar-powered home energy products provider Greenlight Planet has secured $90m in funding. It will use this to expand its pay-as-you-go solar consumer financing business, and consolidate its debt portfolio. Greenlight operates the PAYG solar distribution and service network under its Sun King brand.

10:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nigeria launches home solar systems project – Indian state waives payments during lockdown

22 September

The Nigerian government has proposed a ‘Solar Home Systems Project’, expected to assist more than 25 million people with no connection to the national grid. This comes as Nigeria faces a significant economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With this initiative, local solar manufacturers will be encouraged to set up manufacturing facilities for solar components in the country.

The Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission in India has ordered a waiver of monthly fixed charges for all industrial and commercial consumers. The waiver affects the months of April to June, in an attempt to ease the burden of the pandemic during those months. A three-month moratorium on late payment charges was also ordered by the commission over the same period until September this year, The Times of India reported.

Xcel Energy will soon begin its annual refueling of the generator at Prairie Island nuclear plant in the US. This process will need help from hundreds of temporary workers, complicated by the pandemic. The company has started recruiting workers for the refueling work.

Nama Group member Muscat Electricity Distribution Company has reported normal operations despite the Covid-19 pandemic. During the first half of this year, the company increased its network capacity by 122MW in the Muscat Governorate. This brought its network capacity in Muscat to 6.704GW. Muscat Electricity also launched the operation of three primary substations.

11:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Sizewell C Consortium warns of risk to 10,000 jobs – Indian Power Grid Corp. allowed to sell assets

21 September

The Sizewell C Consortium has announced that approximately 10,000 jobs in the nuclear construction industry will be at risk if the UK government does not approve plans for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station. According to the group, up to a third of jobs at some companies could be at risk. Furthermore, the group argues these jobs are necessary to help the UK maintain its ability to develop new nuclear projects in future.

Power Grid Corp. of India has received approval from the Indian government to sell projects through an infrastructure investment trust. The projects were originally secured through tariff-based competitive bidding. As of the last fiscal year, the company had commissioned eight transmission projects won through bidding. Five of these have operated for more than a year, and may be included in the investment trust. Analysts said this would help the company free-up sizeable equity capital.

The Indian government has informed its parliament that as much as $9.5bn (Rs705.9bn) worth of credit has been made available to power distribution companies as part of a liquidity package for payment of debts by utilities. Through the Power Finance Corp. and Rural Electrification Corp., the government has given the sector liquidity to allow maintenance of power supplies, after cash flows plummeted during the country’s lockdown.

11:02 am

Engie rejects $3.4bn bid for stake in its water and waste disposal business

French power and utility company Engie has rejected a $3.4bn (€2.9bn) offer to buy its water and waste disposal company Suez.

Public services company Veolia offered to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez, which it would then use to launch a full takeover bid. A Veolia spokespersons said it would pay in cash, at more than 50% above the stock market price of shares.

Board members of Engie have said it should seek a better deal. Suez’s second biggest shareholder, Spanish bank Criteria, has no interest in forming a consortium with Veolia.

In an interview with French newspaper JDD, Suez chairman Phillippe Varin said Veolia’s offer was “very hostile”. He also said Veolia’s ownership would hurt Suez’s ability to do business overseas.

Veolia chairman and CEO Antoine Frérot rejects this, saying: “This historic opportunity will enable us to build the French world champion in ecological transformation, while accelerating international development and strengthening the new entity’s capacity for innovation.”

10:03 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Sterling and Wilson receives 107MW solar order – India extends wind project commissioning date

18 September

India’s Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has extended the date of commissioning for a 76.5MW wind project due to force majeure events. This project is being developed by Clean Wind Power (Bhavnagar). The commissioning date has been extended by five months from 23 June to 23 November.

Sterling and Wilson Solar has won a 106.71 MW solar project in Chile, the company’s fifth project in Latin America. In a statement, the company said: “Sterling and Wilson Solar has signed an order of 106.71 MW worth $62.6m in Chile. The order has been received from a global independent power producer, and work is expected to begin in Q4 2021.”

Coal consumption by power firms in Indonesia is expected to stand at 95.6 million tonnes in 2020. This is down from 97 million tonnes recorded in 2019 according to PLN, the state-owned power generation and transmission firm. On the other hand, power consumption during the January-July period grew 0.51% from the same period in 2019.

9:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australia on track for 30% renewable generation – Pakistan invests in hydroelectric projects

17 September

According to the Clean Energy Regulator’s new report, Australia is said to be on track to grow its total share of renewable power generation to 30% by the end of this year. As per the Renewable Energy Target 2019 Administrative Report, the total capacity delivered under the Renewable Energy Target grew by 24%. This brings the total from 5.1GW registered in 2018 to 6.3GW in 2019.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) of Pakistan has approved four power projects worth $73m (Rs12.25bn). These included a hydroelectric plant, substation works, and skill development programmes. The party also recommended two projects worth $200m (Rs33.48bn), covering a dam project and water management, to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for consideration. CDWP also permitted extending the re-tendering process of one project worth $72m (Rs12.1bn).

India’s coal-fired power generation increased by 9.4% in the first half of September, according to provisional government data. Power demand from industrial western states grew for the first time since Covid-19-induced lockdowns started. India’s total power generation increased by 1.6% during the first 15 days of September, according to a Reuters analysis of everyday load despatch data from grid operator POSOCO.

10:03 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australian government supports gas industry – Nexamp acquire 50MW solar portfolio

16 September

According to the Nuclear Industry Association, the number of people employed in UK nuclear remained steady despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The association’s annual Jobs Map shows 59,584 employed in the civil nuclear sector across the UK in 2020. This number is a slight increase from 2019.

The Government of Australia has set out a strategy to improve supply of gas and bring down energy prices, including a possible gas-fired power plant funded by the state. This strategy forms part of an economic boost package as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposals come after the government faced pressure from the manufacturing sector to boost gas supplies and lower prices. However, the power industry and green groups criticised the move, saying it moved the industry in the wrong direction, reported Reuters.

US-based Nexamp has acquired a portfolio of ten community solar projects, generating 50MW, from Dimension Energy. The projects will allow residential customers of Central Maine Power and Versant Power to subscribe to a part of a project’s production and receive savings through credits on their monthly electricity bills. Nexamp will be responsible for building the assets and managing customer subscriptions with its in-house teams as the long-term project owner.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – GE Renewable energy supplies 27 turbines – Delhi electricity regulator halves fixed charges

15 September

GE Renewable Energy has been selected by EDF RE and Mitsui & Co for the supply of equipment for the 87MW Taza onshore wind farm in Morocco. The wind farm will use 27 of GE’s 3.2-85 onshore wind turbines. The project is part of the country’s energy strategy, which aims to produce 52% of its installed electric power from renewable energies by 2030.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has cut fixed power charges by 50% for non-domestic consumers. A commissions spokesperson said many establishments did not use their contracted capacity in the lockdown period up to 30 May, but fixed charges were still invoiced to them. The DERC stated that the fixed charges for the unused capacity during the lockdown period will be reduced.

Power consumption in the Canadian province of British Columbia was 7% below the forecast for August, according to latest regional government data. This is an improvement on March, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, when power consumption was 10% below forecast.

9:51 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Saudi Electricity Company issues $1.3bn in bonds – India increases loans to power distributors

14 September

Saudi Electricity Company has sold $1.3bn in dual-tranche, Islamic bonds. It claims this is the first public green issuance in the country in 2020.  It sold $650m in a five-year tranche at 140 basis points over midswaps, with another $650m of ten-year Islamic bonds at 170 basis points over midswaps, Reuters reported.

Risen Energy, a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products, has announced a structured 140MW supply contract with UPC-AC Energy Solar Asia. As per the deal, Risen’s Mono PERC modules will be provided into early 2021.

The Government of India seems likely to increase the special loans it has offered to state-run power electricity distribution companies. The increase will bring the loans up to $16.3bn (Rs1.2tn), from the $12.2bn (Rs 900bn) previously announced. These loans were intended to cover the extra dues of distribution companies to power generators for the April-June period, a senior official told Financial Express. Due to additional difficulties as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, several states requested a widening of the window, according to power ministry secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai.


11:45 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid fatalities near 910,000 – infections pass 28.1 million

11 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 28,170,000, with more than 909,000 deaths and 18,995,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

This is primarily driven by increasing cases observed in Latin America, the US, and India.

Cases are rising alarmingly in India with no indication to suggest that cases will decline in the near future.

Argentina is reporting an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Latin America.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high numbers of new daily cases.

Total confirmed cases collectively in Africa are very low with only South Africa among the top 30 most affected countries globally.

South Africa is reporting a steady decline in daily new cases in recent days.

However, countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have reported increasing trend of daily new cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 28.1 million – Western Europe a new hotspot

11 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 28.1 million, with deaths exceeding 909,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections topped eight million in Latin America, though there were indications the spread of the virus was slowing in some countries. During the past week, the daily average of cases in the region fell to 67,173 through Wednesday from 80,512 in the previous seven days, according to a tally by Reuters.

Europe: Western Europe has surpassed the US in new daily infections, re-emerging as a global hotspot after bringing the pandemic under control earlier in the summer. The 27 countries in the European Union plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 26,015 for the US.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 191,444.

India: India has set another global one-day record for coronavirus infections with 96,551 new cases. The country’s total reported cases are 4,562,414, according to Johns Hopkins data, and deaths stand at 76,271.

Germany: Germany has recorded 1,484 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases in the country to 2567,850, and 9,342 deaths.

France: France recorded almost 10,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest-ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded just one new community case of Covid-19. The person in their 50s is linked to the cluster around the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group in Auckland.

South Korea: In South Korea, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 21,919, with 350 deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 3,144 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 2,836 registered on September 5.

China: Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases at the end of Thursday, up from seven cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement all of the cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 26th straight day of no local infections.

Japan: The Japanese government is planning to have testing centres for coronavirus in nightlife districts across the nation in a bid to prevent flare-ups, Yomiuri reported, without saying who provided the information. Areas to be targeted include bar districts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

UK: Intensive care medics were significantly less likely to have been infected with Covid-19 than cleaners and other healthcare workers in departments deemed a lower risk, according to a study of several British hospitals at the peak of the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil is still to decide if it will join the COVAX Facility, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization, the acting health minister said on Thursday.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said a curfew imposed to contain the state’s coronavirus outbreak will remain in place as health officials reported 43 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

Singapore and Japan: Will begin a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on 18 September, according to a joint government press statement.

Myanmar: A domestic flight ban came into effect in Myanmar on Friday, with Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ, Air Thanlwin and other airlines announcing the suspension of their services, many for at least two weeks.

Colombia: Maria Orozco, Colombia’s transport minister, said international flights to and out of the country will begin gradually, starting on 21 September, following a six-month hiatus to contain the spread of coronavirus.

US: The US is ending its Covid-19 screening of international travellers arriving at airports as airlines seek new ways to more aggressively test for the virus to boost traffic.


9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Loan to support Cambodia’s transmission systems – $214m loan for Spanish renewable projects

11 September

The Asian Development Bank has granted a loan of $127.8m to support the construction of transmission lines and substations in Cambodia. The fund will finance the construction of four 115–230 kV transmission lines. It will also go towards ten substations in Phnom Penh and three other provinces of Cambodia.

The Spanish Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy has decided to offer $214m (€181m) in subsidies to support renewables-based projects across seven regions of Spain. Part of a $374m (€316m) package, the money fund the construction of solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass and renewable gases facilities, including green hydrogen projects.

PÜSPÖK Group has awarded GE Renewable Energy with a contract to deliver 30 Cypress onshore wind turbines units for two wind farms in Austria. The deal includes a multi-year service contract. Installation of the turbines will start in Q1 2021, and will be operational by end of next year.

Peak power demand in India has returned to normal after it touched 174.33GW on 9 September, more than the highest level of 173.15GW in the same period one year ago. Power demand plummeted after the government imposed a lockdown at the end of March to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Peak demand stood at 167.49GW in August against 177.52GW registered in the same month last year.

9:13 am

Why US dollar will remain dominant in spite of Covid

11 September

The weakening of the US dollar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new policies proposed by the Federal Reserve, led to speculations that the US dollar is losing its dominance as a global currency.

However, there is ‘push back’ that these speculations are exaggerated because ‘there are no other contenders’ for a reserve currency.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, tweeted on how the US dollar index lost 10% since March and the speculations surrounding its collapse as a reserve currency.

He noted that these speculations are false and that the US dollar index has weakened only relative to the Euro and the Yen.

Lacalle added that the status of the US dollar as a reserve currency is not at risk as there is no other contender.


Read more

10:30 am

International update: Global Covid deaths likely to pass 1 million by October – infections near 28 million

10 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed 903,000 – just over ten weeks after passing 500,000. If global deaths continued at the current rate, the toll is likely to pass one million before 1 October, ten months after the World Health Organization was first informed of the first cases in Wuhan, China. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 28 million.

Europe: Infections continue to rise rapidly across Europe. France has seen its second-highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far and hospitalisations are at a one-month high, as the Netherlands and Portugal both confirmed their highest daily infections since April.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

India: India has reported another record for daily coronavirus cases with the health ministry confirming 95,735 cases over the past 24 hours. Some 1,172 people in India also died from the virus, the ministry said.

Mexico: Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Spain: Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks. There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland.

Lockdown updates

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a mass testing programme is the UK’s “only hope for avoiding a second national lockdown before a vaccine”, according to leaked official documents.

Japan: Japan plans to lift restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours. Tokyo is reportedly planning to lift restrictions on opening hours for bars and restaurants, as new coronavirus cases in the city continued on a downward trend.

Australia: Australia’s health minister says the state of Victoria should consider lifting a night-time curfew in Melbourne if it wasn’t imposed for health reasons. The state has been under pressure over the 8pm (10:00 GMT) – 5am (19:00 GMT) curfew since the chief health officer told local radio he hadn’t recommended the policy.

Indonesia: Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will head back into lockdown as it steps up efforts to tackle what he said was an “emergency – more pressing than the start of the pandemic.”

Economic updates

US: New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell 5% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.


9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UAE city records 70% jump in power demand during lockdown – UK further extends solar deadlines

10 September

Consumption of electricity in the US will decline by 2.4% this year, according to a report by the US Energy Information Administration. This comes as a result of lockdowns in response to Covid-19. It is estimated that power consumption will slide to 3,802TWh in 2020, down from 3,896TWh last year. The administration then expects consumption in 2021 to remain steady, at 3,801TWh.

Sharjah, the third-largest city in the UAE, registered a 70% leap in the consumption of power during its lockdown to arrest the spread of Covid-19. However, this huge surge was not witnessed in households’ power bills, as a rebate of 10% was offered to all consumers for three months. Authorities were also asked to pause disconnection for those who could not pay their bills, reported.

The UK government has given solar projects six more months to complete and register feed-in tariff projects because of ongoing challenges caused by coronavirus. This is the second extension granted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, after it granted a six month extension earlier this year. The new deadline for solar PV installations is now 31 March 2020.

The consortium of EDF Renewables and Mitsui & Co. has started construction of the first phase of the Taza wind farm in northern Morocco. Consisting of 27 wind turbines, the first phase of the wind farm will have a total capacity of 87MW.


9:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.8 million – deaths exceed 903,000

10 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,871,000, with more than 903,000 deaths and 18,780,000 recoveries.

India is the most affected country from Covid-19 with over 90,000 daily new cases and over 1,000 daily new deaths.

The US and Brazil continue to report the high number of daily new cases, but the daily new cases have started to gradually decline in both countries.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high number of daily new cases and the testing positivity rate is also rising in these countries.

According to World Health Organization, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services and vaccinations, as the economic and health resources are diverted to manage Covid-19.

This might reverse the years of progress made in child and maternal health.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

8:20 am

Climate change adds to Covid driven economic woes

10 September

Wildfires and flooding have become increasingly common due to the effects of climate change.

As these changes increase, they are expected to majorly impact a financial system already under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthew E. Kahn, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how a new report from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has highlighted the impact of climate change on financial markets.

The report states that the disruptions caused by climate change can threaten the fundamental conditions that support the country’s financial system.

US President Donald Trump had downplayed the impact of climate change on economic growth.

The new report is a first from a government entity highlighting the damage that climate change can have on financial markets.

The first risk posed by climate change is expected to be rising prices of homes and mortgage default rates due to the wildfires and flooding.

Climate change is also expected to impact agricultural commodity prices, the report added.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on more than 10,000 deaths related Covid-19 in Argentina.

Despite having a strict lockdown, the country has not been able to control the spread of the virus.

Read more

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Indian electricity consumption falls 1.6% – Global Power Generation awarded 107MW wind farm contract

9 September

Electricity consumption in India dropped by 1.6% year-on-year to 109.7TWh in August. This comes as a result of weak industrial and commercial activities in the aftermath of the Covid-19-induced lockdown. Power consumption in the month was also 2.2% lower than July, as monsoons reduced the cooling demand from residential segment.

The Australian Capital Territory government has awarded a wind farm construction contract to Global Power Generation (GPG). The company is a joint venture of Naturgy Energy Group, with a 75% stake, and the Kuwait Investment Authority with a 25% stake. GPG will construct the 107MW Berrybank Stage 2 Wind Farm in the state of Victoria, approximately 150km from Melbourne. Furthermore, GPG has committed to install a 20MWh Battery Energy Storage System located within the ACT. The wind farm will entail a total investment of $155m (AUD215m), and will start operations in the second half of 2022.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved plans to monetise the state-run Power Grid Corp. of India‘s transmission projects won through a bidding process.

Without major breakthroughs in green energy technology, the US power industry will struggle to become carbon neutral by 2035, as mandated by presidential hopeful Joe Biden, according to a Reuters analysis of a survey of top power utilities.

8:38 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.5 million – deaths near 90,000

9 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,575,000, with more than 897,000 deaths and 18,535,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.3 million total confirmed cases.

However, India is currently reporting the highest number of daily new cases in the world, and on current trajectory could overtake the US in the future.

Western European countries have recently seen a rise in daily new cases that seems to have coincided with the reopening of their economies.

England will ban the social gathering of more than six people from September 14. This strict measure will be undertaken as cases have started to rise alarmingly in recent days.

This restriction is for private gatherings and will not apply to workplaces and schools.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

7:58 am

How stimulus wrangles could deepen US recession

9 September

The Democrats and Republicans are yet to reach a consensus on further stimulus package for the US economy.

The delay in releasing stimulus into the economy could worsen the unemployment rate and force states to increase spending cuts.

Adam Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared an article on how additional stimulus is essential for the US economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democrats propose a stimulus package of $3.4tn, while the Republicans have proposed $1tn.

Lack of consensus on the stimulus may result in spending cuts by states causing a deeper recession, loss of between 4% and 5% of GDP and an increase in unemployment by 4% to 5%.

Black families and minorities are expected to be worst affected.

In addition, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of Center for Economic & Policy Research, shared an article on how states in the US are in a financial crisis.

Read more

10:20 am

International update: Covid deaths exceed 892,000 – infection rates rise in Europe

8 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed another sombre milestone, exceeding 892,000 as confirmed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries. Global Covid cases exceed 27.3 million.

India: India has reported the most deaths from coronavirus in a month. The health ministry says 1,133 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, lifting the total death toll to 72,775. Infections have passed 4.2 million.

Spain: Spain has become the first western European country to record more than half a million Covid-19 cases, logging a total of 525,549 infections.

France: A leading epidemiologist in France has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise at the current rate, the country could face a “critical situation” in several regions in December.

UK: England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the rise in the number of coronavirus cases was of great concern adding: “We have got to start taking this very seriously again”.

Vaccine news

US: An unsubstantiated claim two weeks ago by President Trump – that the “deep state” was slowing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine – has set off an effort by government officials and private industry to ensure the White House doesn’t interfere with a methodical, careful scientific process.

Europe: The European Commission said it is close to reaching an agreement with BioNTech SE on the supply of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

Mexico: Mexico will participate in the Covax facility led by the World Health Organization to obtain vaccines via the global program to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo formed a national team to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccine in a rule signed on 3 September, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Japan: Japan has approved the use $6.3 billion from its emergency budget to secure coronavirus vaccines.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government will further ease virus-related restrictions and allow restaurants to seat four people per table instead of the current limit of two, Hong Kong Economic Times reported, citing unidentified people.

Japan: The Japanese government is considering eliminating the cap of 5,000 people it has on event sizes as soon as Sept. 19 after determining that the coronavirus outbreak is easing, Kyodo reported, citing an unidentified official.

Singapore: About 13,000 workers who haven’t undergone routine coronavirus testing as of Sept. 6 will be banned from returning to work to ensure the safety of other workers, the Singapore government said in a joint statement.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released Tuesday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history.

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – EDF nuclear generation down 17.6% – Nigerian Government plans rollout of 5m solar home systems

8 September

Power utility EDF has said power production at its nuclear reactors in France fell by 17.6% during August compared to one year before. Generation fell to 22.9TWh as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and nuclear reactor outages. According to the firm, total generation in France since January is 219.5TWh, compared to 260.7TWh in 2019. This marks a drop of 15.8%.

The federal government of Nigeria has plans to offer solar home systems to five million households over 12 months under its Economic Sustainability Plan. The government’s plan featured in an address by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held in Abuja on 7 September, reported

Enel Green Power México has finished installing wind turbines at the 274 MW Dolores wind farm, and pre-operational tests have begun. An Enel Green Power spokesperson said Dolores is the company’s largest individual wind farm in the country. The total investment in the construction of the wind farm stands at approximately $290m. The wind farm can produce up to 938GWh annually, avoiding the emission of more than 525,000t of CO2 annually.

9:17 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.3 million – more than 892,000 deaths

8 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,342,000, with over 892,000 deaths and 18,338,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

European countries such as Spain and France have reported alarming increase in daily new cases in recent days.

However, The US, India, and Brazil are still the primary driver of these increases.

This is due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Studies have reported the long-term effect of Covid-19.

In the UK, estimated 60,000 people had symptoms for more than three months.

Long term symptoms ranged from mild to debilitating requiring medical support and rehabilitation.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:09 am

Dollar facing pressure from the Chinese yuan – Covid puts brake on Indian economy

8 September

The US Federal Reserve’s new policies drafted to increase inflation are aimed to improve the country’s economy. However, these policies may weaken the dollar.

Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland, shared an article on how the Federal Reserve’s policies to increase inflation may threaten the dollar’s dominance as a global currency.

The article noted that although the Federal Reserve has announced the policy change, the central bank’s policy making powers have diminished over the years due to the globalisation of US securities markets and dollar’s dominance in global commerce.

The Federal Reserve needs to finance federal deficits and drive inflation by printing money to ensure the dollar’s dominance as the Chinese Yuan is fast emerging as a rival to the currency.

Meanwhile, India’s economic prospects look bleak, as the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting an economy that was already in slowdown.

Read more

12:57 pm

International update: Global Covid cases pass 27.1 million – India second most infected with 4.2 million

7 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths have passed 889,000 with more than 27.1 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 US states, a Reuters analysis has found. Three weeks ago, cases were only rising in three states – Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota.

“Pandemic fatigue” is an additional risk as the US heads into the fall and winter, when infectious diseases traditionally spread more readily, former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said.

India: India has recorded a global one-day record of more than 90,000 positive coronavirus cases, taking the country past Brazil as the second most infected country in the world, with 4.2 million confirmed cases.

UK: Nearly 3,000 more people in the UK tested have positive for Covid-19, with 2,988 new cases reported on Sunday – a sharp increase from 1,813, and the highest number of new cases since 23 May.

Ireland: Ireland recorded another 138 new cases, with about half the new infections in Dublin, according to health authorities. That pushed the weekend total to almost 370, the worst weekend figure since early May.

France: France reported 7,071 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, showing the pandemic is continuing to progress at a “worrying” pace, the health ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Italy: Italy reported 1,297 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. This is the smallest increase in five days amid lower than usual testing at the end of the week.

Philippines: Researchers from the University of the Philippines said that the spread of Covid-19 in the country is slowing down, citing the rate of reproduction in major cities

Hong Kong: An estimated 1.13 million residents of Hong Kong have signed up for free coronavirus testing in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Syria: A United Nations official has said that more than 200 of its staff in Syria have contracted coronavirus.

Vaccine news

Australia: Australia on Monday said it will receive the first batches of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in January 2021, as the country’s virus hotspot said the number of new daily infections has fallen to a 10-week low.

Greece: Nearly half of Greeks (44%) would refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a poll of 1,000 respondents published on Sunday.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia’s government warned of mounting economic pain as Victoria state announced only a gradual easing of its coronavirus lockdown that will see retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment under tight controls across Melbourne until at least the end of October.


9:15 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nordex finishes 300MW wind project for Vattenfall – GPG contracted for 218MW Australian wind farm

7 September

Nordex has concluded the first part of the Dutch 300 MW project Wieringermeer for its customer Vattenfall, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Located 60km north of Amsterdam, the site covers an area of 300km2. Construction of the next phase has already begun.

GPG, a joint venture of Naturgy Energy, the Kuwait Investment Authority, and Snowy Hydro, has received a contract to construct a 218MW wind farm in Australia. Located nearly 300km from Melbourne, is expected to entail an investment of $262m (AUD359m) and is slated to begin operations in the second half of 2022.

Dominion Energy has applied with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the operating licenses of the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia. The company wants to extend the licenses by 20 years, on top of the original 40-year license terms. These were granted in 1978 and 1980, with an extension granted in 2003. The two nuclear units of the power station produce electricity for 473,000 homes in Virginia.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh in India is set to float a tender for setting up a 10GW solar project, reported citing undisclosed sources. The proposed tender would account for 14% of India’s green energy capacity.

8:24 am

How remote working can improve wellbeing and help control Covid-19

7 September

Many companies across the world have opted for remote working operations to safeguard their business and employees.

Remote working, however, has an indirect impact on the businesses that are dependent on employees for their business.

Julian Jessop, an independent economist and writer, shared an article, how working from home (WFH) can cost £15bn a year for the UK, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

WFH is expected to severely impact coffee shops, security guards and support jobs causing a GDP loss of 1%.

Various businesses who are reliant on office goers for their business have already started to feel the impact of the pandemic induced remote working.

Pret A Manger, for example, operates primarily near to office blocks and has announced its plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Further, the company is planning to expand into suburbs to sustain its business.

Jessop opined that the impact of WFH on GDP, is a small price to pay compared to the improvements it will provide in wellbeing such as less commuting.

Remote working can also help in controlling the pandemic, Jessop noted.

Read more

2:21 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 26.3 million – deaths exceed 869,000

4 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,337,000, with more than 869,000 deaths and 17,545,000 recoveries as daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.1 million total confirmed cases, followed by Brazil with over 4 million total confirmed cases, and India with over 3.9 million total confirmed cases.

Additionally, the US continues to report a high death toll, contributing approximately 22% to global deaths, followed by India with 14%, and Brazil with 8%.

In Thailand, just one day after marking a significant milestone of 100 days with no local transmission of the coronavirus, a new case was identified.

This case had tested positive after arriving at a correctional center, and after a detailed case history, was determined to be locally transmitted.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

2:00 pm

France announces €100bn Covid-19 recovery package with money for hydrogen, power efficiency

French prime minister Jean Castex has announced $118bn (€100bn) of spending over two years to help the country out of a Covid-19-induced slump.

At a press conference, Castex said the plan was “the largest recovery plan announced in Europe”. Details of the “Relaunch France” plan have not yet been given, but the outline includes $35.5bn (€30bn) of funds to encourage a “greener economy”.

Hydrogen projects will receive $2.37bn (€2bn) of funding, and the same amount will go toward initiatives encouraging drivers to switch to less-polluting cars.

Approximately $10.66bn (€9bn) will assist industry in decarbonising, in line with France’s sated goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Public and private buildings will receive $8.29bn (€7bn) of funds to become more power efficient.

The total funds represent more than 4% of the country’s annual GDP, making it one of the proportionately largest recovery packages announced.

1:08 pm

The question of energy beyond Covid-19: business as usual or a brave new world?

The world is still reeling from Covid-19, but as lockdowns ease and countries look to a future beyond the pandemic, the question of what constitutes the future of the energy industry remains. The answer is crucial to environmental sustainability.

While Covid-19 brought much of the world to a halt, the share of renewable energy (RE) in the power mix increased. The use of renewables in India increased by 73% from March to July, while the Energy Information Administration (EIA) asserts that renewables are the fastest growing form of energy in the US.

Click here to read the full article.

11:01 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26.3 million – US gears up for early vaccine roll out

4 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths are nearing 869,000 with more than 26.3 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.13 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 186,293.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded more than four million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 2,723 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Friday, up from a previous record of 2,495 cases.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours. It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.

France: France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

Mexico: Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the United States at 1,077, the United Kingdom at 649, and Brazil at 634.

Thailand: Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.

South Korea: Doctors have agreed to end a two-week strike, which has hindered efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday, after overnight talks over the government’s medical reform plans, Reuters reports.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s new universal testing blitz has identified six infections, initial results showed a sign the campaign could uncover hidden infections despite limited participation.

Vaccine news

US: Authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine by 1 November when US health officials have told states to be prepared to distribute shots is “extremely unlikely but not impossible,” Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed told NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday.

Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September. The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference. The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.

UK: English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

Australia: Health minister Greg Hunt extended restrictions on international travel and the entry of cruise ships until 17 December to protect the country against the spread of the coronavirus.

Economic updates

Turkey: Turkey has extended by two months a layoff ban it introduced to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that most state and territory leaders in Australia were recommitted to opening up the country’s economy by December. But he didn’t secure an immediate agreement to lift the border restrictions hampering the recovery.


10:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – EDP reports 22% less net income in Q1+2 2020 – GE and CTCI receive five gas-fired generating unit orders

4 September

RWE has commenced the construction of its first ground-mounted solar project in the Limburg province of the Netherlands. Spread over 12 hectares, the Kerkrade solar farm will have a capacity of over 14MW. The deployment of nearly 36,000 solar modules will begin next year.

Portuguese power company EDP has registered a 22% decline in net income in the first half of 2020. This comes as a result of lower power consumption because of lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Iberia and Brazil. The company posted a net income of $373.46 (€315m) for the period. The volume of electricity sold in Iberia fell by 7%, while power consumption by customers in Brazil decreased by 9%.

General Electric and CTCI of Taiwan have received an EPC contract for five combined cycle gas-fired power generating units at two power plants in Taiwan. The contract encompasses works for three new generating units at the Hsinta Power Plant, which has 3.9GW installed capacity. It also covers work on two new generating units at the Taichung Power Plant, with 2.6GW installed capacity. Both plants are owned by state-owned Taiwan Power.

In its latest preliminary report, grid operator Red Electrica de Espana said that Spain produced 37.8% of total electricity from renewable sources in August. Wind power generation surged by 24.3% year-on-year to 3.59TWh, making it the top renewable electricity producer.

9:04 am

How healthcare investment can boost jobs

4 September

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust healthcare system for every country across the world.

Increasing healthcare investment can not only create new jobs amid the pandemic but also create a more productive population.

Amanda Larsson, campaigner with Greenpeace NZ, tweeted on how investment in care in the UK can create 2.7 times new jobs that are equivalent to investment in construction.

Investment in care can also create 6.3 times as many jobs for women and 10% more for men.

The tweet was based on report from the Women’s Budget Group, an independent think tank, on how investment in care can stimulate employment and reduce gender employment gap.

Developing a better care system will require a major proportion of the population to be employed in the healthcare sector thereby increasing the overall employment rate.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post highlights a looming unemployment crisis for the US.

Read more

2:02 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – Brazil and India near 4 million

3 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,062,000, with over 863,000 deaths and 17,315,000 recoveries.

In the majority of countries in the European, African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific regions, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while the Americas and South-East Asia continue to see a rise in daily cases.

The US, Brazil, and India primarily drive these increases due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Brazil and India are both now approaching 4 million cases.

Meanwhile, Israel set a record high with over 3,000 daily confirmed cases reported today.

This marks the country’s biggest one-day jump, and brings the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 123,000.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

2:00 pm

Right time for nuclear to play extended role along with renewables to deliver clean energy system, says GlobalData

With the world looking to consolidate ventures in cleaner and greener electricity sources post-Covid-19 pandemic, electricity from nuclear sources offer an option. In a study, the World Nuclear Association said the opportunity for governments to invest in nuclear energy, which addresses the Covid-19 crisis and manages issues such as climate change, air pollution and energy crisis.

Click here to read the full article.

9:54 am

Spain’s carbon era expected to come to an end as Covid-19 drives gas generation and renewables expansion

Spain has implemented strict steps during the Covid-19 pandemic, the most notable being the country shutting down eight of its coal-based generation units, as well as its decision to phase out coal-based generation by 2025. The low cost of gas is acting as a likely trigger for the country to extend gas-based electricity generation, moving away from the unviable coal-based power plants.

Click here to read the full article.

9:48 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – more than 863,000 deaths

3 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths passed 863,000 with more than 26 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The highest death toll is in the US, where 185,707 people have died.

Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right Covid-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.

Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials has found, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment.

US: The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,883 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking its tally to 3.85 million, just 100,000 behind Brazil, the world’s second most affected nation, health ministry data showed. According to Johns Hopkins, this is the second-highest one day total ever reported, with India breaking the world record on 26 August with more than 85,000 cases.

Australia:  Victoria state on Thursday reported a triple-digit rise in new Covid-19 infections for the first time in four days, denting optimism that the second wave of cases has been contained. The state said that 113 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours, an increase on the 90 infections reported on Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll appears to be easing for the first time since May, a sign the Latin American country could be descending from a long infection plateau that has seen it suffer the world’s second-worst outbreak after the United States.

Turkey: Turkey is seeing a second peak of its coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, its health minister has said, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.

France: Daily new Covid-19 infections in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday and the number of people hospitalised in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.

France reported 7,017 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the seven-day average increase to the highest since the outbreak began.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,311 to 246,166, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 195 new cases of coronavirus. That’s the lowest since August 17, according to Yonhap News Agency. While there are signs the spike that began last month is easing – thanks to stricter distancing rules – a record number of patients are in critical condition.

Lockdown updates

China: An Air China flight from Phnom Penh was the first international flight to land in Beijing after direct flights from eight countries were allowed to resume. Passengers must have tested negative for Covid-19 before they board and complete a 14-day government-run quarantine on arrival.

UK: The UK government is “anxiously monitoring” increasing hospital admissions in France and Spain, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Senegal exempts electrification equipment from VAT – SGRE receives 301MW turbine order in Morocco

3 September

The Indonesian government has told state-owned power company PLN to temporarily lower electricity rates for all lower-power homes and businesses, in order to revive the pandemic-hit economy. The power company will cut its electricity rate by 1.5%, the Jakarta Post reported.

Senegal has decided to exempt renewable energy production equipment from value-added tax (VAT) to promote rural electrification. The list of 22 VAT-exempted appliances includes solar panels, inverters, solar thermal collectors, batteries, solar lamp kits, solar water heaters kits, and charge regulators. It also includes biogas equipment.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has won a contract to supply wind turbines for the 301MW Boujdour wind farm project in Morocco. The contract covers the supply, transport, installation, commissioning and testing of 87 units of the SG 3.4-132 wind turbine, and a five-year service agreement.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the difference between the share of renewables and coal-fired power in India has lessened. The share of renewables jumped from 17% just before the pandemic to approximately 24%, and coal-fired power declined from 76% to 66% in India, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) data.

8:14 am

Australian unemployment hits 22 year high as economy tanks

3 September

The Australian economy officially entered recession as it posted two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Despite government measures such as increased spending and cutting interest rates to zero, the country has not been able to avoid a recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, shared an article on Australia entering recession for the first time in decades, following two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Even though the country was able to avoid any major impact from the 2008 global financial crisis, it has not been able to escape the impact of the pandemic.

Australia may find it difficult to recover in the post-Covid-19 scenario due to slowdown in growth of China, which is its biggest trade partner.

Further, the country may face other long-term problems such as climate change disasters including wildfires, wage growth stagnation and a housing bubble.

Unemployment levels also remain high at 7.5%, which is the worst in 22 years. The figures are expected to rise as the downturn continues.

Read more

2:46 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Trend still upwards – Covid cases near 25.8 million

2 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,785,000, with over 857,000 deaths and 17,095,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

This is primarily driven by increasing trends observed in Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

More specifically, the US, Brazil, and India contribute over 50% of cases to the global confirmed case burden, and over 40% of deaths to the global death toll.

Meanwhile, Indonesia continues to report a surge in daily confirmed cases, likely underestimated due to limited testing capacity.

As total confirmed cases surpass 180,000, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers, with Indonesia experiencing one of the highest mortality rates among this group compared with the rest of the world.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:40 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.7 million – US go alone on vaccine

2 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.7 million with more than 857,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The White House says it will send most of its newly-purchased 150 million rapid response Covid-19 tests to the states for schools, day care centres and emergency services.

President Donald Trump said thousands more people have died from the coronavirus in China than the Beijing government has acknowledged. China has reported 4,724 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — far fewer than the 184,644 deaths in the US, which has the highest number in the world.

South America: Latest figures show Mexico passed 600,000 cases and Colombia has racked up over 20,000 deaths, as the virus continues to take its toll in the Americas.

South Korea: The number of confirmed cases in South Korea fell for a fifth day after peaking at 441 last week, which was the biggest gain since early March. The government reported 267 new infections for 1 September, the fourth straight day below 300.

South Korean officials warned the high rate of infection among over-60s was placing strain on the country’s health system as it battles a second wave.

Ukraine: There has been a surge in cases in the Ukraine with a record 2,495 new cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 2,481 cases.

China: There have been another eight new cases of the virus in mainland China up to midnight on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday morning.

Germany: Germany has seen its new cases rise by 1,256 to 244,855, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Pakistan: Experts are puzzled by Pakistan’s relatively low number of cases and deaths. It has just under 300,000 infections compared with almost four million in neighbouring India.

Australia: Cases continue to ease in Australia’s south-eastern state of Victoria. The state confirmed 90 new cases on Wednesday, compared with a peak of more than 700 last month.

Thailand: Thailand has reported no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases for 100 straight days, joining a small group of places like Taiwan where the pathogen has almost been eliminated.

Vaccine news

US: The Trump administration says it will not work with other countries to develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine. It said it did not want to be constrained by “multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China”.

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. US stock futures rose after the nation’s top infectious disease official said that an independent panel could halt the trials before their expected conclusion at the end of the year.

Antibodies humans make to fight the coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly, countering concerns to the contrary. US scientists said their study of 30,000 Icelanders offered hope that a vaccine could produce sustained resistance.

Japan: Japan is considering offering a vaccine free of charge to every citizen, according to Kyodo news agency.

Lockdown updates

Scotland: The Scottish government is re-imposing a ban on household gatherings in three local authorities in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area for the next two weeks amid alarm about rising infections in recent days.

China: State media in China is reporting that people in the far western region of Xinjiang have resumed “normal life order and production” after a sudden spike in cases last month.

South Korea: South Korea imposed stronger social-distancing regulations in the greater Seoul area from 30 August to 6 September.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia has slumped into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years as the coronavirus pandemic finally ended its record run of economic prosperity.

India: India is considering extending its flagship rural jobs program to urban workers hurt by lockdowns. The new program would start in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion), said Sanjay Kumar, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


9:45 am

Second wave Covid-19 threatens manufacturing bounce back

2 September

Manufacturing activity is slowly returning to normal levels as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to EY ITEM Club, shared an article on the increase in global manufacturing levels.

Manufacturing activity increased to a 21-month high of 51.8 in August supported by stimulus packages across Europe, Asia and North America.

However, the recovery is expected to be uneven as new waves of infections curb business activity.

The resurgence of infections is discouraging companies to boost capital expenditure thereby delaying the rebound in the industry.

Experts note that recovery in manufacturing activity will grow at a modest pace, although China’s manufacturing activity has expanded at the fastest rate compared to other countries.

Read more

9:21 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Renewable generation up 32% in UK – Papua New Guinea investigates hydro opportunities

2 September

Total renewable energy generation in the UK jumped up by 32% during the Covid-19-induced lockdown, according to Drax Electric Insight’s quarterly report. As a result, carbon emissions were one-third lower than the previous year during the second quarter, the report added.

Fortescue Metals Group will conduct a feasibility study for the development of hydroelectric plants across Papua New Guinea. The Australian mining company said that individual projects would be developed following the completion of feasibility studies and approvals.

More than 800 workers have tested positive for Covid-19 at Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project since the pandemic began. The company revealed another round of positive cases at the Plant Vogtle project in its latest filing. However, it says the number of new cases is declining again.

Cloudberry Clean Energy has made an offer to purchase all shares of the Swedish offshore outfit Scanwind2. The Swedish firm is developing shallow water wind farm in Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden. The project will comprise 16-17 turbines with an expected production capacity of 350GWh per year.

2:19 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.5 million – Europe fears resurgence

1 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,508,000, with over 851,000 deaths and 16,847,000 recoveries.

Across the world, daily confirmed cases continue to rise.

Of the top ten most affected countries, less than half continue to report increasing trends in daily confirmed cases: India, Spain, and Argentina.

However, these countries contribute roughly 25% to the top ten total confirmed case burden, and nearly 20% to the global total confirmed case burden.

In Europe, France, Germany, and Spain fear a potential resurgence of cases, with reports of moderate to severe upticks in their seven-day average of daily confirmed cases.

The possible onset of a second wave of infections has prompted government and public health officials to re-evaluate lockdown measures and reallocate resources to track outbreaks.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:09 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.5 million

1 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.5 million with more than 850,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A World Health Organization survey of 105 countries shows that 90% have experienced disruption to their health services as a result of the coronavirus, with low- and middle-income countries the most affected.

US: The number of infections in the United States surpassed six million. Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.4% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.03 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

India: India has added nearly two million coronavirus cases in one month, jumping from 1.64m infections at the end of July to 3.62 million at the end of August.

Brazil: Brazil reported 45,961 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 553 deaths caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday. The country is closing in on 4 million cases of Covid-19.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 3,719 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 256 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 599,560 cases and 64,414 deaths.

Spain: Spain has registered more than 23,000 new Covid-19 cases since Friday.

France: France’s new Covid-19 infections surged by almost 50% in August, hitting 281,025 cases, versus 187,919 at the end of July.

South Korea: South Korea’s coronavirus cases have remained under 300 for a third day in a row. On Tuesday, the CDC recorded 235 cases, including 222 local infections. It took the total number of cases recorded in the country over the 20,000 mark, to 20,182, since the first infection was reported on 20 January.

Australia: The state of New South Wales has 13 new cases, 11 of which are locally acquired and linked to known clusters, including a cluster in the centre of the city, which now totals 41 cases.

China: China has reported ten new Covid-19 cases, down from 17 reported a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong begins mass testing for coronavirus this morning, with the assistance of 60 experts from China. The programme aims to “identify asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, and to cut the transmission chain on the community,” the government said in a statement.

New Zealand: New Zealand reports 14 new cases, nine in managed isolation, all related to the Auckland cluster. Yesterday Auckland dropped down from Level 3 to Level 2, despite more cases emerging.

Lockdown updates

Europe: Children across Europe return to school. French pupils go back to school on Tuesday as schools across Europe open their doors to greet returning pupils this month, nearly six months after the coronavirus outbreak forced them to close and despite rising infection rates across the continent.

Hungary: Hungary has decided to let tourists from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, enter the country with a fresh negative coronavirus test, it said late on Monday, just as a lockdown on its borders took effect.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping the capital region under loose movement restrictions through September to spur economic activity while battling the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Economic updates

India: India’s economic growth suffered a historic 23.9% contraction in the April-June quarter, as the strict coronavirus lockdown hit businesses.

10:02 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ørsted sells distribution business to SEAS-NVE – Ventient Energy acquires Iberwind

1 September

Demand for electricity in India has returned to levels close to those before the country’s Covid-19 lockdowns. According to data released by POSOCO‘s National Load Despatch Centre, the average daily power demand stood at 3,595GWh after the lockdown was lifted on 1 June. During the lockdown period from 24 March to 31 May, demand averaged 3,037GWh.

Ørsted has concluded the sale of its Danish power distribution business Radius, residential customer business, and City Light business to SEAS-NVE. Nearly 750 staff  have moved to SEAS-NVE as part of the deal.

Nordex Group has deployed the first of 114 turbines for the Nysäter wind project in Sweden, after completion of the necessary infrastructure work. The company was awarded a contract for the turnkey construction of 104 N149/4.0-4.5 turbines and 10 N131/3900 turbines from RWE Renewables. This is currently the company’s largest project in Europe.

UK-based Ventient Energy has signed an agreement to acquire Portuguese wind farm operator Iberwind. The acquisition will add 31 wind farms, more than 320 wind turbines, 726MW of installed capacity to Ventient’s portfolio.

9:01 am

Why Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse

1 September

Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Reuters report that Western diplomats have raised concerns over the country, which has been suffering with inflation at more than 800%.

Nurses have been on strike in the country and several political opponents have been arrested raising concerns over human rights violations and use of authoritarian tactics.

Diplomats note that the pandemic must not be used as an excuse for restricting the freedom of citizens.

Hanke opines that Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse under these conditions.

Meanwhile, China is the only country projected to growth amid the pandemic in 2020. The country, however, may not be growing through demand but rather through public debt and foreign debt.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, tweeted on how the weak consumption recovery and high inventory in China do not indicate GDP growth in the country as suggested by headlines.
Read more

2:13 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.2 million with more than 6 million in the US – global deaths near 847,000

31 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,249,000, with over 846,000 deaths and 16,634,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

In North America and across the world, the US maintains its place as the most affected country with more than 6 million total confirmed cases, followed by the Latin American and South Asian regions of Brazil and India, respectively.

However, India’s infections will likely surpass Brazil as the country continues to experience a rise in daily confirmed cases, though this is largely due to increases in testing.

Additionally, despite rising infections, India will re-open its train network in the capital city of New Delhi starting 7 September.

This comes after a five-month hiatus, and will be initiated in a phased manner.

While passengers are expected to wear masks, the sheer number of passengers and tight quarters is concerning.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

4:30 pm

Luminous Energy sells solar project to provide power to 100,000 homes

UK solar and energy storage company, Luminous Energy, has announced the sale of its largest PV project located in Australia, the 203MW Columboola Solar Farm, to South Korea-based firm Hana Financial Investment.

Luminous Energy recently signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with CS Energy, a Queensland Government-owned energy business.

The Columboola Solar Farm was developed with PwC Australia and it aims to support Queensland’s target of 50% renewable energy generation by 2030. The ten-year PPA with CS Energy is for 100% of the site’s output, 450GWh each year, and is one of Australia’s most substantial renewable energy contracts ever.

Luminous Energy CEO Jolyon Orchard said: “Australia is a major market in the global solar revolution and the country’s solar industry has huge potential. This project showcases how innovation can help secure an impactful and prestigious PPA, such as that with CS Energy, and interest from a world-class investor, such as Hana Financial Investment. It supports our vision to accelerate the growth of the global solar industry by generating low cost, reliable electricity while respecting the natural environment.”

Read the full article here

2:31 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.2 million – deaths exceed 846,000 – more than 16 million recoveries

28 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,200,000 with over 846,000 deaths and 16,624,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases continues to decline in the US.

Germany has performed more than 987,400 daily tests in the week leading up to 8/26 and reported 19 new cases per million population.

Germany’s positive test rate is approximately 2%.

The US reported over 130 new cases per million population and a positive test rate of 7.8%.

Bahrain and Israel are reporting are reporting the highest new cases per million population in the world with 363 and 250 new cases per million population, respectively.

Collectively the Middle East and Latin America have the most total confirmed cases per million of population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:14 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.47 million – US cases pass 5.8 million – Trump vows to crush Covid

28 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.47 million with more than 832,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization said it would set up a committee to review the rules on declaring an international health emergency, following criticism of its Covid-19 pandemic response.

US: The United States has added 931 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 180,527. An additional 42,859 new infections brought its overall caseload to 5,860,397.

President Donald Trump has promised to “crush” the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for a second term.

Latin America: Coronavirus cases have passed the seven-million-mark in Latin America, according to a Reuters tally. The daily average of cases fell to about 77,800 in the last seven days through Wednesday, against almost 85,000 the previous week, the tally based on government figures showed.

Australia: The state of Victoria says it detected 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, a number that remained unchanged from the previous day. Australia has now recorded nearly 25,500 Covid-19 infections nationwide, while the death toll rose to 584 after 12 people died in the state.

India: India has recorded its highest one-day tally of coronavirus cases, with 77,266 new infections recorded. That’s the second highest number of cases ever recorded by a single country in one day.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,571 to 239,507, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

China: China reported nine new Covid-19 cases, all imported. It marked the 12th consecutive day of no local transmissions, according to the National Health Commission.

South Korea: South Korea reported 371 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, including 359 local infections, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is down from the nearly six-month high on Thursday of 441.

Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation due to ill health, after introducing new measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including boosting testing capability to 200,000 tests a day and aiming to secure enough vaccines for all citizens by mid-2021.

Syria: Ramesh Rajasingham, the United Nations’s deputy emergency relief coordinator, says Covid-19 is having a dramatic effect on healthcare services in Syria, where limited testing is obscuring the real extent of the pandemic.

Ireland: Ireland is seeing a “worrying trend” in coronavirus cases, the health ministry warned, as case numbers continue to increase. The country is now seeing about 33 cases per 100,000 people compared to three in June, ministry adviser Philip Nolan told reporters in Dublin, while the number of people being admitted to the hospital is starting to rise.

Spain: Spain reported 3,781 new Covid-19 cases, the most since 23 April. Chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said that only 5% of cases were hospitalized. “It was 55% at the peak of the pandemic,” he said, adding that most of the new cases were in the Madrid area.

Italy: Italy reported 1,411 new cases Thursday, in line with the previous day but still the most since 6 May. A record 94,024 tests were performed as summer vacationers returned from countries, including Spain and Greece.

Lockdown updates

Spain: Spain announced schoolchildren aged six and over must wear masks to class, just days before the start of the new academic year.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Gas generation falls by 25% in Brazil – Eni and Falck Renewables to acquire US renewable projects

28 August

The Covid-19 pandemic caused gas demand for thermopower generation in Brazil to decline to an average of 15Mm³/d (million cubic meters per day) in the first half of 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, the annual average stood at 20Mm³/d, reported citing data published by the energy ministry.

A $1.5bn project to expand the production capacity of Hwange Power Station in Zimbabwe has fallen behind targets because of the coronavirus pandemic. Developers completed 48% of work by the end of the June, against a target of 57%. Chinese firm Sinohydro will install two power generators with a combined output of 600MW.

More than 2.5GW of new offshore wind capacity was added across the globe during the first half of this year despite the ongoing pandemic, World Forum Offshore Wind said in its latest report. The report added that ten new offshore wind farms commenced operations during the period, across the UK, China, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, and the US.

Italian energy giant Eni has teamed up with Falck Renewables to acquire 62MW of operating wind and solar projects and nearly 160MW wind development pipeline in the US. The partners operated through Novis Renewables, in which Eni owns 49% and Falck 51%. The companies have agreed to buy Italian energy firm Building Energy’s US unit Building Energy Holdings for $32.5m.

7:49 am

US Federal Reserve looks to inflation to save jobs

28 August

In a historic move, the US Federal Reserve announced a new monetary policy strategy aimed at building a strong labour market and stabilising prices.

The new policy is a shift from the decades long strategy of curbing inflation.

James Picerno, editor at the US Business Cycle Risk Report, shared an article on the Federal Reserve’s new monetary policy strategy.

The new strategy aims to target 2% average inflation, a big departure from the previous policy to curb inflation.

The strategy is aimed at building a strong labour market, which will require a range of policies apart from a supportive monetary policy.

The policy change is still unclear as no guidelines have been provided on how long interest rates will be kept low and how high inflation will be allowed to go.

Investors may need to wait until September when the Federal Reserve issues guidance on interest rates and ensures to keep inflation at a threshold of 2.25% or 2.5%.

Read more

2:05 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 24.2 million – deaths exceed 826,000 – Latin America seeing fastest rise in new cases

27 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 24,203,000 with over 826,400 deaths and 15,825,921 recoveries.

Among the top ten most affected countries, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia are reporting new daily confirmed cases at rate of more than 200 new cases per million population.

The rate for India and the US is about 50 new cases and 130 new cases per million population, respectively.

Spain is the most affected country in Europe.

However, the number of new daily deaths is significantly lower when compared to the first wave.

The UK is considering adding a few more countries to the quarantine list such as the Czech Republic.

Despite the increasing number of new confirmed cases over the past month, the Czech Republic has not placed restrictions like it did during the first wave.

This might be because of public opposition against such restriction levels.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

10:08 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.1 million – cases in Europe increasing post lockdown – global deaths near 826,000

27 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.1 million with almost 826,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Europe: France and Italy reported post-lockdown daily case highs on Wednesday. France’s 5,429 new cases raised concerns ahead of the new school year starting next week. Italy reported 1,367 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily tally since May when the country was still in lockdown.

The EU’s trade chief, Phil Hogan, stepped down after growing criticism that he broke virus regulations in his native Ireland. Hogan was under pressure over his attendance at a golf dinner last week that violated coronavirus regulations, as well as his behaviour during quarantine upon arrival in his home country.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.8% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.8 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 179,150.

Health experts are concerned a sudden US decision to change testing guidance for people who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients but have not developed symptoms risks spreading the virus further. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says so-called “close contacts” of people with Covid-19 do not “necessarily need” to be tested if they do not have symptoms.

China: A World Health Organization team that was meant to investigate the origin of the coronavirus concluded their trip to China without a visit to Wuhan, the Financial Times reported, citing the UN agency.

Greece: Greece reported a record-high 293 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 9280. The number is the highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The country also recorded five new deaths, bringing the total to 248.

India: India has passed 60,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to the country’s health ministry, and reported its highest daily case rise of more than 75,000. There are growing concerns about the spread of the virus to rural areas.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,507 to 237,936, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

Australia: The number of new infections in the southern state of Victoria appeared to be stabilising. On Thursday, 113 cases were reported – the lowest increase since 5 July, when 74 cases were reported. However, the state reported 23 deaths associated with Covid-19 on Thursday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported seven new cases, including one imported infection. The six other cases were all linked to the Auckland cluster.

Argentina: Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the South American nation struggled to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday, after reporting two deaths and 26 cases in the first public outbreak of coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

China: Hong Kong is moving to relax some of its rules on social distancing measures from midnight (16:00 GMT) on Thursday for a period of seven days. The Food and Health Bureau says while sporadic cases and clusters were to be expected and that the government would take a “refined and sophisticated approach” to the relaxation of measures.

Singapore: Singapore will offer Covid-19 tests for travellers to China prior to departure, in an effort to align with new Chinese requirements aimed at stemming the growing number of imported virus cases.

Thailand: The Thai government may allow foreigners who own properties in the country to return as it seeks to gradually ease travel curbs imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economic updates

South Korea: South Korea central bank cut its growth outlook, predicting the world’s 12th-largest economy would shrink more than 1%.

New Zealand: Air New Zealand has posted a net loss of NZD454m ($300m) for the financial year ended June 30. Like many airlines around the world, the closing of borders has led to a collapse in passenger traffic leaving planes on the ground. About one-third of Air New Zealand’s 12,500 employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result.

Japan: Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said a jump in virus cases from July and heavy rains are dragging on the nation’s economy and he didn’t know yet whether the outbreak has peaked.

9:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Rosatom continues construction despite difficulties – TSK to sell Spanish solar plants

27 August

Russian nuclear agency Rosatom expects the Covid-19 pandemic to affect some of its overseas contracts. However, the Tass news agency reports it will not revise its portfolio of construction projects. The agency said Egypt has deferred the issuing of a construction licence for the planned El Dabaa nuclear power plant to the second half of next year.

Korea Western Power (KOWEPO) has implemented Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure software to ensure continuous power supply throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Nutanix claimed its technology will allow KOWEPO to support its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure deployment, to deliver remote work capabilities to its workers.

Verizon Communications has signed four new long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) covering over 450MW of renewable energy capacity. The telecom group entered into two PPAs with Brookfield Renewable for a total of up to 160MW of capacity. The other two PPAs was signed with First Solar for an aggregate of up to 296MW of capacity.

TSK has brokered a deal to sell its operational solar power plants in Spain to Q-Energy, the renewable asset fund manager of Qualitas Equity. As part of the agreement, the company has transferred a portion of its subsidiary Esersa. Particularly, it transferred its stakes in the La Africana solar thermal plant and in the photovoltaic facilities of Sirius Solar, Madrigalejo, and Rosalejo.


7:57 am

Global economy showing signs of recovery but overall decline forecast

27 August

The global economy is gradually showing signs of recovery after a major decline in the first half of the year.

The growth of the economy is expected to continue from the second half of the year, although the labour market will take a long time to recover.

Erik Meyersson, senior economist at Svenska Handelsbanken, a Swedish bank, shared a report on the latest forecast issued by the bank.

The report notes that the global economy is showing signs of recovery after a historic fall in economic activity in the first half.

However, the impact of the pandemic,  has varied across different countries.

While Nordic countries managed to handle the pandemic better, the European Union and the US have been severely impacted.

The report notes that global growth is expected to decline by 4.3% in 2020, followed by a 5.2% growth in 2021 and 3.5% growth in 2022.

New infection rates and lockdown restrictions, however, will play a major role in deciding the growth of the global economy.

Read more

7:13 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.9 million – re-infections recorded – fatality rate falling

26 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,930,000 with over 820,000 deaths and 15,606,000 recoveries.

The US, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa remain the most affected countries.

The number of new confirmed cases in the US, Russia and South Africa have declined steadily over the past two weeks.

However, South Africa is performing fewer tests and has a higher positive test rates than Russia and the US.

There have been rare cases of re-infection with the virus, two in Europe and one in Hong Kong.

It is too early to make any conclusions on how this would impact the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the fatality rate compared to the beginning of the outbreak has dropped significantly.

This might be because of multiple factors, including higher individual awareness, social distancing, and health services adaptation.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

11:06 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases near 24 million – deaths near 820,000 – more re-infections confirmed

26 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.9 million with almost 820,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Rates of transmission are easing in many parts of the world, the World Health Organisation has suggested. Governments have been ramping up efforts to contain the disease, which has claimed the lives of nearly 820,000 people and infected almost 24 million since late last year.

Europe: Two European patients were confirmed to have been re-infected with coronavirus, raising concerns about immunity. Regional public broadcasters said a patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium had been re-infected.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.6% to 5.76 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.4% to 177,773.

The number of Americans newly diagnosed with the coronavirus is falling. About 43,000 new cases are being reported daily across the country, down 21% from early August, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Turkey: Turkey recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases since mid-June. Another 1,502 infections were confirmed on Tuesday, according to government data, taking the official tally over 261,000.

India: India reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases globally for the 18th straight day. Infections rocketed by another 1.5 million since the start of August, taking India’s total to more than 3.2 million.

Mexico: Mexico has confirmed 4,916 new cases of the disease and 650 more deaths, bringing its totals to 568,621 cases and 61,450 deaths.

Myanmar: Myanmar has reported 70 new cases of coronavirus, its biggest daily jump since the pandemic began. The health ministry did not say where the new cases were found.

China: China has reported 15 new cases in the mainland – all of them in people returned from overseas.The mainland has not confirmed a domestically transmitted case in 10 days. It also had 14 new asymptomatic cases, which are not included in confirmed cases. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

South Korea: South Korea has ordered doctors in Seoul to return to work on Wednesday as they began a three-day strike in protest against several government proposals. South Korea is battling one of its worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, with 320 new cases reported in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday.

North Korea: Kim Jong Un has told North Korea to step up prevention efforts against the coronavirus. The country has not reported any confirmed cases of the virus, but imposed a strict lockdown in the city of Kaesong after a man there showed symptoms of the disease. Later tests were inconclusive, according to the WHO.

Australia: The southern state of Victoria has reported its second deadliest day of the pandemic with 24 deaths and 149 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. Melbourne, the state’s capital and the second-biggest city in Australia, is midway through a six-week lockdown and curfew as it battles a resurgence of the disease.

Argentina: Argentina reported 8,771 new confirmed Covid-19 cases for a national total of 359,638, according to the government, the second straight record daily tally. The government reported 162 deaths, for a total of 7,563.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza entered a 48-hour lockdown after the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the general population. Four cases of coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, the first in Gaza that did not involve people quarantined in border facilities after crossing over from Egypt and Israel.

Singapore: Singapore will tighten border measures for travellers arriving from South Korea after a resurgence of virus cases there. Those who have travelled to or transited in South Korea within the past two weeks will be required to serve a 14-day quarantine at government-run facilities when they enter Singapore, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Japan: Japan is considering how to make social-distancing rules more binding as it confronts a wave of coronavirus cases larger than the one that prompted a state of emergency in April-May, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said. Future emergency declarations could be targeted to specific areas or industries, said Nishimura, who heads the country’s virus response.

Hawaii: Hawaii’s most populous island is returning to a stay-at-home order while officials conduct 70,000 Covid-19 tests in the next two weeks. The federal government will help officials test 5,000 people in Oahu every day for two weeks, the Associated Press reported.

UK: Pupils in England will no longer be advised against using face masks in schools after prime minister Boris Johnson made an 11th-hour U-turn days before students head back to the classroom.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia will boost defence spending by A$1 billion ($716.80 million) in the government’s latest attempt to help the country’s coronavirus-hit economy. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the money will be used to upgrade military facilities and offer additional paid employment to some 27,000 reservists.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – KEPCO to sell 30MW US solar plant – ReNew Power negotiates sale of 550MW of projects

26 August

Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) has decided to sell its 30MW solar power plant in Colorado, US. The state utility firm invested $17m in the facility in July 2016, but it intends to divest the plant’s assets including the land in the second half of 2021. According to Pulse News Korea, the company will completely liquidate the venture in the second quarter of 2022.

British investment firm Actis has started negotiations to acquire Indian clean energy firm ReNew Power’s 550MW green energy projects for nearly $400m. This will become the largest deal in India since the Covid-19 outbreak. The projects on sale are the 300MW solar project at Pavagada Solar Park in the Tumkur district of Karnataka, and a 250MW wind farm in Gujarat.

Enel Green Power has started building the Partanna wind farm in Sicily. The project will generate nearly 40GWh/year from renewable resources. Scheduled to become fully operational in April next year, the facility will use six 2.4MW wind turbines.

Vestas has secured a 36MW turbine order from Elawan Energy for four wind projects in Poland. The order includes the supply, installation and commissioning of the wind turbines, as well as Active Output Management 4000 service contracts for ten years.

7:42 am

Permanent job losses in US could reach 8.7 million – how financial repression and inflation can ease UK public debt

26 August

The effects of Covid-19 pandemic have been multi-fold from shutting down businesses, causing widespread unemployment to a global healthcare crisis.

Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, shared an article on how the Covid-19 induced recession is leading to permanent job losses in the US similar to the Great Recession.

The rise in unemployment rate during March and April was considered to be temporary.

However, in July, approximately 33% of employees who were furloughed were permanently laid off, according to data from Gusto, a payroll and benefits company.

A total of 3.7 million people were unemployed in July, according to official figures from the Labour department.

By the end of the year, the figure is expected to rise to between 6.2 million and 8.7 million, which is close to the 8.6 million unemployed during the Great Recession.

Long-term unemployment may lead to slow economic recovery and have the most impact on the minority communities of the society.

Meanwhile, George Magnus, a macroeconomist, shared an article on the expected rise in inflation in the UK.

Magnus argues that a combination of financial repression and inflation may be the best way to address public debt.

Read more

2:15 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths – infections slowing in US

25 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,679,000 with over 813,000 deaths and 15,359,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases are declining in the US.

Among European countries, Spain, France, and Germany are reporting the highest new confirmed cases.

Yesterday, Spain reported over 19,000 new cases.

In the UK, it appears the country has controlled the local outbreaks as the numbers are declining nationally.

India reports over 25% of the global new cases.

The country is now performing more daily tests than the US.

The fatality rate in India is half of the global average, possibly because of the country’s young population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:24 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million – first documented human re-infection confirmed

25 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cancer patients are at high risk of severe disease if they contract Covid-19, and those with blood diseases are in the most danger, researchers said. People with leukaemia and other blood cancers who contract the coronavirus face as much as 57% higher odds of severe disease compared to those with breast cancer, according to a study published Monday in The Lancet Oncology journal.

China: A Hong Kong man has been re-infected with Covid-19 after four-and-a-half months, leading to immunity concerns. A Hong Kong man who recovered from Covid-19 was infected again four-and-a-half months later in the first documented instance of human re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said on Monday.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.6% as compared with the same time Sunday to 5.72 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 176,991.

Gaza: Gaza reported its first Covid-19 cases outside quarantine areas and declared lockdown. The first cases of coronavirus have been detected outside of quarantine facilities within the Gaza Strip, a potentially disastrous development given the enclave’s fragile health system.

Sweden: Sweden is likely to see local outbreaks but no big second wave of Covid-19 cases in the autumn, such as inundated hospitals a few months ago, Sweden’s top epidemiologist and architect of its unorthodox pandemic strategy said.

Pakistan: latest figures from Pakistan show the country has 8,934 active cases of coronavirus – the lowest since April 24, according to our correspondent Asad Hashim. Pakistan recorded an additional 450 cases on Monday and 11 deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 148 new cases of coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours. The state’s capital, Melbourne, is slightly more than halfway through a six-week lockdown imposed as a second wave of cases emerged in the state.

Germany: New coronavirus cases increased at a pace close to Saturday’s four-month high, while the infection rate fell below a key benchmark of 1.0. There were 1,628 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 236,122.

Singapore: Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority ordered a stop to activities at some construction worksites after a new Covid-19 cluster was found at the country’s largest foreign worker dormitory, raising concerns of a resurgence in virus infections.

Vaccine news

US: Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, warned that distributing a Covid-19 vaccine under special emergency use guidelines before it has been proved safe and effective in large trials is a bad idea that could have a chilling effect on the testing of other vaccines.

Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the agency will not be influenced by political pressure when it comes to approving a vaccine for Covid-19. Hahn said the FDA’s decision to issue an emergency authorisation for blood plasma treatment for coronavirus at the weekend was not political.

Mexico: Four different coronavirus vaccine initiatives will receive financial support from the Mexican Government, the Foreign Ministry said in a presentation. A total of 19 projects including those focused on Covid-19 treatments will receive financing via a fund with resources from the Mexican International Development and Cooperation Agency, foreign entities and private foundations, the Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

Lockdown updates

Global: The United Nations said the threat from ISIL (ISIS) has been reduced by the coronavirus lockdowns imposed in many countries. “Measures to minimise the spread of Covid-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for counter-terrorism.

South Korea: South Korea on Tuesday ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online, the latest in a series of precautionary measures aimed at heading off a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Reuters reports.

Colombia: Colombia will start a new phase of the pandemic in which mandatory lockdowns end and authorities instead impose “selective lockdowns” with fewer restrictions to individual mobility, President Ivan Duque said on state TV.

Economic updates

Australia: Qantas Airways Ltd. plans to cut as many as 2,500 more jobs by offloading ground operations such as baggage handling and aircraft cleaning as the cost of the coronavirus pandemic mounts.

Philippines: The Philippines’ House of Representatives on Monday approved the final version of a 165.5 billion-peso ($3.4 billion) pandemic relief bill that would provide subsidies to the unemployed, assistance to businesses and loan repayment extension to borrowers.

10:01 am

Coronavirus company news summary – South Africa cancels Karpowership permit – JERA plans 520MW offshore windfarm in Japan

25 August

The Government of South Africa has cancelled an ‘emergency’ exemption permit to sail up to five floating gas-burning power ships into local harbours. Turkish company Karpowership group received permission under Section 30A of the National Environment Management Act.

Pattern Energy has concluded financing and began construction of its 105MW DC Phoenix Solar Project in Fannin County, Texas. The project, which is expected to be completed in mid-2021, has a 12-year power purchase agreement with Digital Realty, a provider of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions.

JERA plans to construct an offshore wind farm off Ishikari Bay, in Hokkaido, Japan. The proposed facility will include up to 65 wind turbines with a generation capacity of 520MW. The company has submitted its Planning Phase Environmental Impact Statement for the offshore wind farm project to the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Amazon has announced plans to build a 115MW wind farm project in Ardderroo, Ireland. The company aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025. The wind farm will begin operating in 2022, and is expected to feature around 27 turbines.


8:30 am

Brexit a bigger threat to UK GDP than Covid-19 – concern as US federal debt tops $26.6tn

25 August

The Covid-19 pandemic appeared at a time when the UK was preparing for Brexit.

The debate on a no deal Brexit and a Brexit with a free trade agreement continue, although the impact of the pandemic adds another element to the debate.

Dina D. Pomeranz, economics professor at University of Zurich, shared an article on how the impact of Brexit could be two to three times greater than Covid-19 on the UK economy.

The UK GDP is projected to decline by 1.7% over the next to three two years without much long-term impact.

However, the impact of Brexit on GDP is expected to emerge gradually.

Analysis by the government has indicated that a no deal Brexit could result in a decline of 7.6% in GDP after 15 years, while Brexit with a free trade agreement could lead to a 4.9% decline in GDP.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, tweeted on US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for additional financial stimulus.

He noted that government spending is already at a high, which has pushed the US federal debt to more than $26.6tn.

Hanke questioned as to how the deficit created by the increased spending will be addressed.

Read more

6:25 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases approach 23.5 million – infections on the increase in Europe

24 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,456,000 with over 809,000 deaths and 15,155,000 recoveries.

The US, Brazil and India remain the most affected countries with over 53% of the world’s total confirmed cases.

India now has more than 3.1 million Covid-19 infections.

In Europe, new daily confirmed cases are increasing.

On Friday, France reported over 15,000 new daily confirmed cases.

The numbers of new confirmed cases are declining in South Africa and Russia.

In the Middle East, and regions with high Shia population, there may be an increase in the number of new confirmed cases as Muharram begins.

Currently, there are no restrictions or guidelines for religious gatherings.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

11:49 am

Coronavirus company news summary – KPLC India temporarily closes thermal power plants – NTPC secures approval for renewable energy business unit

24 August

Karnataka Power Corporation (KPCL) in India has temporarily closed three thermal power plants due to the poor demand following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Two power plans in Raichur district and one in Ballari district of the Karnataka were closed as high power generation and lower demand was destabilising the grid.

Omega Geracao has inked an agreement to buy a 50% stake in EDF Renewables’ wind farms in the Brazilian state of Bahia amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. The assets have a 182.6MW capacity and thee deal is valued at BRL661.7m ($118m).

India’s state-owned power company NTPC has secured approval to create a wholly-owned renewable energy business unit. The move is part of the company’s strategy to generate approximately 30% of its overall power capacity of 130GW from renewable energy sources by 2032.

Skipjack Offshore Energy, a subsidiary of Danish company Ørsted, has received approval from Maryland utility regulators to build offshore wind turbines that are over 800ft tall — nearly 200ft larger than originally proposed. However, the regulator asked the developer to work in tandem with Ocean City officials who fear that the turbines could disrupt tourism. Ocean City leaders asked the regulatory body to require Skipjack to locate the project at least 33 miles from the shore.

10:05 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections exceed 23.4 million as deaths near 809,000 – US cases pass 5.7 million

24 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.4 million with more than 808,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The US Food & Drug Administration said it has authorised the use of blood plasma from patients who have recovered from Covid-19 as a treatment for the disease, a day after President Donald Trump blamed the agency for impeding the rollout of coronavirus vaccines for political reasons.

As US Covid-19 cases passed 5.7 million, New York reported that virus-related hospitalizations had dropped to 472 and intensive care patients to 110, both the lowest since mid-March. It also marked the 16th straight day of positive-test results under 1%.

California reported 6,777 new virus cases on Sunday, the highest number in a week but still less than the seven-day average of 7,822.

China: China sees no locally transmitted cases for the eighth day in a row. The country reported 16 new Covid-19 cases in the mainland for 23 August, all of which were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, the country’s health authority said on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea counted its 11th straight day of triple-digit daily jumps in coronavirus cases as officials tighten social distancing restrictions nationwide to combat what they describe as the biggest crisis since the emergence of Covid-19.

Japan: Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited a Tokyo hospital on Monday for a second time within days, stoking concern about his ability to stay on as leader due to health issues and fatigue from tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus infections in seven weeks on Monday, fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding. Victoria on Monday reported 116 cases and 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 700 cases early this month.

France: France reported almost 4,900 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, its highest figure since May.  Deaths increased by one to 30,513 in the past 24 hours.

Italy: The number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in Italy has nearly doubled in the past five days, rising to more than 1,200 on Sunday. Italy recorded 1,210 cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 642 on Wednesday, latest official figures showed. There were seven deaths compared with three the day before.

UK: The UK recorded 1,041 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, down from 1,288 on Saturday, government figures showed. It is the fourth day in a row that new infections have been more than 1,000 in 24 hours.

Greece: The Greek island of Lesbos was added to a list of areas under heightened Covid-19 vigilance, officials said. The move came as health authorities announced a new daily infection high of 284 cases nationwide in the last 24 hours. The total number reached 8,664, of which around 40% has been reported in August. The death toll reached 242.

Mexico: Mexico has reported 226 more deaths from the coronavirus, finishing the week with 3,723 fatalities, the lowest total in over two months, according to government figures.

Vaccine news

China: The Chinese government has been administering a vaccine candidate to selected groups of key workers since July, a senior health official told state media yesterday. Zheng Zhongei, head of the national health commission’s science and technology centre, told CCTV the government had authorised “emergency use” and it was in line with the law, the South China Morning Post has reported.

Philippines: The Philippines is negotiating with 16 manufacturers of potential Covid-19 vaccines to procure supplies needed to battle South-East Asia’s largest outbreak. In addition, the Philippine education department reported that at least 311 teachers and 268 students have been infected with the coronavirus. In an announcement on social media, Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said that of the total cases, 318 remain active while 22 have died. It was unclear how many of the total fatalities were teaching staff or students.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, will continue with its Level 3 restrictions for an additional four days. Auckland was set to lift the restrictions – requiring residents to ‘stay at home and stay local’ – on Wednesday, but those have now been extended to 11:59pm on Sunday.

Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro defended the reopening of retail outlets “with responsibility” and said his government had done everything possible to curb the spread of Covid-19, in a video posted on social media Sunday.

8:01 am

How wearing face masks can help reduce US GDP fall

24 August

Healthcare officials have repeatedly highlighted the importance of wearing face masks to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economists have gone a step further, by translating the importance of mask wearing into economic terms to understand the impact on GDP.

Dr. Malini Nair, an economist, shared an article on how wearing masks can help in improving the US GDP.

Wearing masks can act as an alternative for lockdowns and enable more shops and offices to open. According to Goldman Sachs, if 15% of the population wears a mask, the increase in number of cases can be reduced by 1%.

The Economist further notes that if a single person in the US wears a mask for a day, it will help in preventing a fall in GDP of $56.14.

Based on these projections, the article notes the government should place more emphasis on the importance of wearing masks.

Read more

1:23 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections exceed 23.4 million – India cases pass 3 million

24 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23.4 million with more than 800,000 deaths and 15,139,454 recoveries.

Across the globe, Covid-19 total confirmed cases continue to increase, with the US, Brazil, and India still taking the lead as the most heavily affected countries.

The UK has seen local lockdowns in areas such as Aberdeen, Manchester and Leicester, in an effort to prevent a second wave of infections.

In Brazil, Sao Paulo is the worst hit region, with over 730,000 total confirmed cases now reported.

Health inequalities and a response criticized for being too economy focused, has led Brazil to have the second highest death toll, after the US.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:44 am

International update: Global Covid-19 deaths near 800,000 as infections approach 22.7 million – new cases surge as lockdowns lifted

21 August

Global: The global death toll from Covid-19 has edged closer towards 800,000. There have been 793,864 fatalities from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and almost 22.7 million cases.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 5.55 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase – the fourth straight day that cases rose by 0.8% — was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths now number 174,283.

Latin America: The number of Covid-19 deaths in Latin America surged past 250,000 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally. The grim milestone was passed as Brazil reported 1,204 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. Over the past week, the region has reported more than 3,000 deaths a day, while daily caseloads continue to rise in Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

India: India hurtled toward the three million mark for coronavirus cases, reporting 68,898 new infections in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 2.9 million. Deaths in the same period jumped by 983, with the total now at 54,849.

South Korea: South Korea faces “very serious situation” as it seeks to trace thousands who attended a conservative rally at the weekend. It has seen a spike in cases centred around a church whose members were among thousands who attended the anti-government rally. South Korea added 324 cases in 24 hours compared with 288 a day earlier, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. There were two additional deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has recorded 179 new cases of Covid-19. It was the lowest one-day increase in five weeks and a sign that the outbreak that brought a lockdown on Melbourne was being brought under control.

Germany: Germany recorded 1,586 new infections in the 24 hours through Friday, the same number as Thursday and above 1,000 for a fourth straight day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Japan: Japan’s current wave of coronavirus infections has more or less reached its nationwide peak, said Shigeru Omi, head of the government’s virus advisory panel. Japan saw a second wave of infections that started a few weeks ago after opening the economy following a period under a state of emergency. The country reported 1,185 new infections on Thursday, according to NHK, down from a peak of more than 1,600 seen on 7 August.

Argentina: Argentina reported a record daily rise of 8,225 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 320,884. There were 111 new deaths, taking the total to 6,517.

UK: Virus cases in England increased by more than a quarter in the week through 12 August, underscoring the risks facing Boris Johnson’s government as it tries to boost economic activity without triggering a new peak in the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Global: Authorities in Peru and Morocco approved Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late on Thursday.

US: A senior US health regulator has vowed to resign if the Trump administration tries to rush approval of a vaccine. Peter Marks of the Food and Drug Administration said there was growing concern that the White House will try to approve a treatment before the November election even if it is not safe.

Mexico: Mexico will receive at least 2,000 doses of Russia’s potential Covid-19 vaccine, dubbed ‘Sputnik V’, to test among its population, according to the Mexican foreign minister.

Lockdown updates

Myanmar: Health authorities ordered residents of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to stay at home after detecting three more locally transmitted cases, according to the Myanmar Times newspaper. A total of nine cases have been reported in Rakhine since August 16, when authorities detected Myanmar’s first locally transmitted case in nearly a month.

Morocco: King Mohammed VI warned that Morocco could return to a complete coronavirus lockdown amid a jump in infections that has strained health services and triggered protests by medical staff. New cases nationally have surged to more than 1,000 a day since Morocco lifted a strict three-month-long lockdown in late June and hit a record high of 1,766 on August 15. As of Thursday, Morocco had recorded a total 47,638 cases, including 775 deaths and 32,806 recoveries.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported nine new locally transmitted coronavirus cases, and put off a decision about easing restrictions in its biggest city of Auckland to next week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would announce on Monday whether the government would ease alert level 3 restrictions enforced in Auckland, and level 2 measures in the rest of the country.

Japan: Japan plans to ease its Covid-19 entry restrictions on foreign nationals with resident visas starting next month, public broadcaster NHK reported. Re-entry will be permitted for visa holders, including permanent residents and exchange students, on condition that they undergo coronavirus testing and quarantine for 14 days, the same policy that applies to Japanese citizens re-entering the country, according to NHK.

France: Schools in France will open as planned on 1st September, despite calls from teachers for more time to prepare because of the coronavirus, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said in a television interview.


9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Integrated solar panel plant opens in Turkey – Helios Infrastructure completes solar purchase

21 August

The Egyptian Nuclear Power Plants Authority has said it expects to approve the construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant site in Q2 of 2021, reported Arab News. Once constructed, it will be the first nuclear power plant in Egypt. It will be constructed in the city of Dabaa, around 130km from Cairo. The facility will cost more than $25bn, and will be constructed by Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp.

Turkish authorities have opened an integrated solar panel manufacturing facility in Ankara’s Başkent Organized Industrial Zone. The facility’s managers claim it is the country’s first integrated solar panel manufacturing facility across Europe and the Middle East. The solar ingot-wafer-module-cell production factory, built with an investment of $400m, spreads across a 100,000m² closed area.

American credit rating agency Fitch Ratings expects India’s power demand to fall by 4% during the financial year ending March 2021. This comes as a result of gradual pick-up in economic activity since Covid-19-related lockdowns were eased in June this year. The drop in demand may lead to lower load factors, primarily for coal-based power facilities. The agency also expects supply chain and labour disruption due to the pandemic, leading to slower green energy capacity additions this year.

Helios Infrastructure, a joint venture between Nationwide and Sol Systems, has completed its solar project purchase from Cypress Creek Renewables. The portfolio is worth more than $200m, and features 20 projects across North Carolina. Of these, 97MW are operational and 51MW are under construction.

Dipping green energy tariffs in India have put the fate of an already awarded 16.8GW renewable energy projects in limbo, reported LiveMint, citing two people familiar of the development. State electricity distribution firms are reportedly reluctant to sign power supply agreements for these power projects, requiring a potential investment of around $8bn (Rs600bn).

7:38 am

Unemployment expected to surge as furlough ends

21 August

The UK has managed to keep its unemployment rate low with the help of the furlough scheme.

However, the unemployment rate is expected surge once the furlough scheme comes to an end, with many companies already announcing redundancies.

Duncan Weldon, Britain economics correspondent for The Economist, shared an article on the expected increase in unemployment in the UK.

The unemployment rate in June was 3.9%, which is very low compared to the US at 11.1%.

However, the low unemployment rate is attributed to the furlough scheme, which involved the government paying 80% of the wages of the employees.

As the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, companies have to start contributing to the cost of their furloughed employees.

As a result, a number of redundancies have been announced or planned to be announced by various companies. Marks & Spencer, for example, announced its plans to cut 7,000 jobs.

The Bank of England estimates that the unemployment could peak between 7.5% and 12% once the furlough scheme ends.

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2:25 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.4 million with more than 788,000 deaths – Japan suffers second wave

20 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 22,442,000 with over 788,000 deaths and 14,349,000 recoveries.

Across the globe, Covid-19 total confirmed cases continue to increase, with the US, Brazil and India still taking the lead as the most heavily affected countries worldwide.

In the US, although daily confirmed cases continue to decrease nationally, the number of deaths continue to climb, with Florida now the 5th State to report 10,000 deaths.

Russia is ranked 4th in the list of most heavily affected countries worldwide, however, they appear to be controlling the virus as evidenced by a decrease in daily confirmed cases over the past three months.

A resurgence of cases in Japan has resulted in a second wave much larger than the first.

A lack of large scale testing is thought to be the main reason for this, with undiagnosed cases causing the virus to spread across communities silently.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

2:00 pm

Amid Covid-19, Electricity (Amendment) Bill offers opportunity to transform Indian electricity system, says GlobalData

In April, amid the Covid-19, the Indian Ministry of Power (MoP) proposed amendments to the Electricity Act of 2003 as a Draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020. The bill incorporates the National Renewable Energy Policy (NREP), which is likely to push the generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy and prescribe a minimum percentage of the purchase of electricity from renewable and hydro sources of energy. With more renewable energy incorporated in the generation mix, the Indian electricity sector would undergo a green transformation.

Click here to read the full article.

9:34 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Vestas received 443MW turbine order – Adani Power negotiates purchase of 414MW plant

20 August

The Government of India has decided to relax the working capital limit for power distribution companies hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation can extend loans to power distributors above limits of the working capital cap of 25% of last year’s revenues.

Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has received a 443MW order from SSE Renewables for the Viking wind project on the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, UK. The deal involves supply, installation, and commissioning of the wind turbines, as well as a 30-year service agreement.

174 Power Global has finished the construction of the 1,200-acre Oberon Solar Power Facility in West Texas. The 180MW clean energy facility is capable of powering an average of 30,000 homes annually.

India-based Adani Power is holding negotiations to purchase OPG Power Ventures’ 414MW coal-fired plant near Chennai, reported. A potential deal could be valued up to $160m (Rs12bn), the publication quoted two undisclosed sources as saying.


9:29 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.4 million – new spikes as lockdowns ease – US infections exceed 5.5 million

20 August

Global: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 22.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are nearing 788,000.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.51 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. It was the third straight day that cases rose by 0.8%, which was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths also rose by 0.8%, to 172,511.

US President Donald Trump is touting the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for coronavirus, saying he’s “heard fantastic things” about it. Trump made his comments after the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration had put on hold emergency approval for the treatment because of concerns the data on plasma use was too weak.

Florida’s coronavirus death toll hit 10,000 on Wednesday as the state continues to struggle to get the ongoing pandemic under control. Almost six months since Florida’s first case was identified, the state reported 174 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total death toll to 10,067. The state reported 584,047 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, up 0.7% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1% in the previous seven days. The new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 7.1% for Tuesday, the lowest since June 14. The state has reported 33,146 new cases in the past seven days, the fewest in a comparable period since late June.

Texas reported the lowest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations since late June, according to state health department figures. Hospitals in the second-biggest US state had 5,974 virus patients as of late Tuesday, the fewest since June 29. The strain on medical infrastructure continued to ease even as new cases increased by 7,024 to bring the cumulative total to 557,256.

New York City’s positive test rate for the Covid-19 has fallen to its lowest since the pandemic crisis first hit, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. After more than two months of experiencing positive test rates of less than 3%, the city recorded a 0.24% test rate this week, the mayor reported during a news briefing Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Health Ministry says there are signs the coronavirus outbreak in the country – the world’s second-worst – could be about to slow. The number of confirmed cases dropped to 304,684 last week, compared with a peak of 319,653 in the week ending July 25. The number of deaths reported on a weekly basis has also fallen to 6,755 from a peak of 7,677 in the last week of July.

India: India has recorded its highest daily total of new cases, with 69,672 infections. This is the fourth highest daily total reported globally, only exceeded by the US on three occasions in second half of July.

Germany: Germany has recorded its highest daily case numbers since April, with 1,707 new infections. On 18 April the country recorded 3,609 cases.

South Korea: South Korea has recorded seven straight days of new cases in triple figures, and authorities have warned of a “nationwide pandemic”, with infections seeding across the country.

China: China has reported seven new cases of Covid-19, all of which the national health commission says were imported (3 in Jiangxi, 1 in Tianjin, 1 in Shanghai, 1 in Shandong) Cases, 1 in Sichuan). There were no new deaths and no new suspected cases, it said. It’s the fourth day in a row with no local transmissions.

Spain: Spain’s health ministry said 3,715 coronavirus infections were diagnosed in the 24 hours to Wednesday, a new single-day record since the country emerged from a three-month lockdown in mid-June.

France: France on Wednesday recorded new coronavirus cases at the fastest daily rate since May, official figures showed, as the country prepared for the return from summer holidays. Almost 3,800 infections were confirmed.

Italy: Italy recorded 642 new infections in a day on Wednesday, hitting a new record since May when the country cautiously emerged from one of the longest lockdowns in the world after more than 30,000 Covid-related deaths.

Indonesia: Indonesia has officially reported 6,346 deaths from Covid-19, the highest toll in South-East Asia, but Reuters reports that including people who died with acute Covid-19 symptoms but were not tested, the death toll is three times higher.

Australia: The state of Victoria has reported 240 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, up slightly on the 216 announced on Wednesday. It also reported 13 deaths.

Thailand: Thailand reported seven new coronavirus cases, all found in state quarantine, continuing the nation’s almost three-month streak of zero local infections. The government is conducting contact tracing after it was found a woman who had completed 14-day quarantine could have the virus.

UAE: The United Arab Emirates is seeing a jump in new cases and the government blamed the increase on social gatherings and the failure to adhere to precautionary measures. The country reported 435 new infections on Wednesday, the highest daily increase in over a month.

Vaccine news

New Zealand: Three quarters of New Zealanders intend to get immunised against coronavirus when a vaccine becomes available, new research has found.

Lockdown updates

Vietnam: E Hospital in Hanoi has been locked down after an 87-year-old patient tested positive for the coronavirus, Voice of Vietnam reported, citing the head of the health ministry’s administration of medical examination and treatment. The patient was found to have contracted the virus six days after being admitted into the hospital. The source of the patient’s infection hasn’t been detected. Vietnam has 994 confirmed cases and 25 deaths.

Puerto Rico: Facing a spike in cases, Puerto Rico is clamping down again, closing beaches, bars, gyms, theaters and casinos through 11 September, and putting strict new controls in place for other establishments. All businesses except grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals will be closed on Sundays, and all residents are being asked to stay home on Sundays unless it’s an emergency.

Greece: People will have to wear masks both indoors and outdoors on the island of Mykonos and in the northern region of Chalkidiki, the Greek government said. It also suspended any kind of events and prohibited gatherings of more than nine people in the two tourist areas.

1:40 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.1 million – new spikes in Europe – Auckland NZ back in lockdown

19 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 22,169,000 with over 781,000 deaths and 14,135,000 recoveries.

The US remains the most heavily affected country worldwide, however, a national decrease in daily confirmed cases has been observed over the last month, with cases only rising in a handful of states, such as Hawaii and Illinois.

Across Europe, many countries, such as, the UK, Italy and Belgium are experiencing a new spike in cases.

A second wave of infection is likely in these countries if they do not respond accordingly.

Brazil reports the second highest Covid-19 total confirmed cases globally, following the US.

Although, this is thought to be an underestimate due to a lack of testing; only 12.1 tests per 1,000 population were performed on the 21st of July in Brazil compared with 144.6 tests per 1,000 population performed in the US.

After 102 days of controlling the virus in Auckland, New Zealand, a new cluster of cases has put the city back into lockdown, with the general election postponed by a month.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

11:23 am

Germany, Spain and UK to foster green Europe transition, while coal-based generation faces darkness in the Covid-19 standstill, says GlobalData

The Covid-19 pandemic drew the curtains over the coal-based generation. Countries such as Germany, Spain and the UK saw the most decline in electricity demand and marshalled other countries in the expansion of power generation from renewable sources. The year-on-year generation from wind and solar PV in the EU countries is expected to be 10%-15% higher in 2020, clearly highlighting the boost these sectors have had amid the pandemic.

Click here to read the full story.

10:41 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.1 million – deaths exceed 781,000 – US infection rate slowing as cases near 5.5 million

19 August

Global: The number of coronavirus cases recorded around the world has passed 22.1 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Deaths from the virus stand at more than 781,000.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.8% as compared with the same time Monday to 5.46 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 171,120.

California reported 4,636 new confirmed cases, below the 14-day average of 8,089, according to state data. The most-populous state had 100 additional deaths, less than the 14-day average of 132, bringing its total to 11,342.

Brazil: One in five workers at Brazil’s meat plants have been infected with the coronavirus, according to union estimates. That would make the country home to one of the world’s worst workplace outbreaks.

South Korea: South Korea is struggling to contain an outbreak of the virus in the capital, Seoul. The country reported the highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since early March on Wednesday.

South Korea reported 297 more coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its biggest daily gain since March, amid concern that an uncooperative religious sect at the centre of the flare-up could be spreading infections nationwide.

Australia: The second-most populous state of Victoria says 12 people have died from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and reported 216 new cases. The state reported 222 cases a day earlier, its lowest one-day rise in a month, and 17 deaths.

China: Hong Kong is seeing a fall in the proportion of infections with unknown origins, boosting hopes that stringent city-wide containment measures can be eased. The share of local cases with untraceable origins has fallen to the lowest level since the start of the current virus wave — the city’s worst outbreak.

Belgium: The pronounced loss of smell that many coronavirus patients suffer could help separate them from flu cases quickly, easing a potential onslaught on health systems this winter, researchers said. The loss of smell is more significant in Covid-19 patients than in those suffering from bad colds, according to a study led by two Belgian universities and published Wednesday in the journal Rhinology.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil’s health regulator has approved final stage trials for Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine – the fourth to get approval for testing in the country. The vaccine will be tested on 7,000 volunteers across seven states, Anvisa, the health regulator, said in a statement.

Australia: Australia has signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to secure a potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed with Oxford University. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the vaccine is one of the most promising and advanced of the drugs currently in development.

Morrison has said he wants to make any potential Covid-19 vaccine mandatory. He outlined plans to “return the country to normal life” as infections from a second wave began to subside.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: Around 500 New Zealand military personnel will be deployed to help secure hotel quarantine sites as the country tries to contain a new outbreak.

Thailand: Thailand’s Covid-19 management subcommittee will submit its recommendation to extend the state of emergency for another month until the end of September to curb infection risks, said Natthapol Nakpanich, deputy army chief. The emergency rules were first imposed in March, and have been extended four times with the current extension set to end on 31 August.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UAE links Barakah nuclear plant to grid – China Three Gorges purchases 13 solar plants

19 August

Unit 1 of the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant has linked to the country’s electricity transmission grid for the first time. Located in the Al Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi, the project was launched at the start of this month. Once fully operational, the four units of Barakah will meet up to 25% of the country’s electricity demands.

Canadian Solar’s wholly-owned subsidiary Recurrent Energy has started construction on the 144MW AC Pflugerville Solar Project in Travis County, Texas. The project, once operational, will generate enough electricity to power nearly 25,000 homes.

China Three Gorges has reached an agreement to purchase 13 solar plants in Spain built by renewables firm X-Elio, Reuters reported. The deal marks the Chinese state-owned energy and infrastructure firm’s entry into the Spanish energy sector. Built between 2019 and 2020, the solar plants are fully operational and have a combined capacity of just over 500MW.

JinkoSolar has received a contract from Shanghai Electric to deliver nearly 1GW of solar modules for Phase V of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Solar Park. As per the agreement, JinkoSolar will deliver its Swan series modules, which are designed to operate in high temperature areas such as Dubai and on the levelized cost of energy.

8:22 am

Lower paid workers key to consumer driven economic recovery

19 August

China has been successful in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak and is expected to recover before the rest of the world.

The policies adopted by the government, however, may be increasing the wealth gap between high-income and low-income groups in the country.

Adam Tooze, an economist and director of European Institute, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic is widening the wealth gap in China.

Wealthier people in the country have not been affected by pandemic as much as the lower income groups who are struggling financially.

The reason behind this uneven recovery is the policies adopted by the government, which has focussed on stimulating investment and construction, instead of providing direct cash to people as other countries have done.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 1.2% GDP growth for China but the policies adopted by the government will not help in consumption recovery, which accounted for 57.8% of GDP.

The low and middle income groups account for majority of the overall consumption compared to the high-income group.

The situation is expected to worsen as job losses increase, which will push the low income groups into poverty.

Meanwhile, in the UK, households have put non-essential spending on hold amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, while India could lose gains made in the last two years as 400 million educated workers are at risk of falling into poverty due to the pandemic.

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