COVID-19 Energy Sector Impacts

The USAID-NREL Partnership is developing resources to help partner countries navigate energy sector impacts related to the novel strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

USAID and NREL are addressing demand from government stakeholders, utilities, power system operators, and policymakers for resources that assist with navigating energy sector COVID-19 impacts. These resources include an assessment of the challenges and opportunities associated with COVID-19 in Southeast Asia as well as an Ask an Expert service that provides access to experts in energy system response, recovery, and resilience. 

COVID-19 and the Power Sector in Southeast Asia: Impacts and Opportunities

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Ask an Expert Service

The Ask an Expert service connects partner country stakeholders with a network of experts from NREL and the broader U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories who specialize in the technical aspects of:

  • Power system operation
  • Withstanding, responding to, and recovering from power sector disruptions
  • Developing flexible demand options
  • Developing resilient energy systems.

Ask an Expert

For technical assistance related to COVID-19 energy sector impacts, submit a request.

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Our team of experts can answer these types of questions:

Three researchers are seen reviewing a formula written in orange marker.
  • How can we ensure a reliable power supply to critical infrastructure as we respond to COVID-19 impacts?
  • What are the potential financial impacts of COVID-19 for the power system—including current operations and future periods?
  • How can we ensure grid stability and resilience given significant load reductions due to falling demand for energy and gas from commercial and industrial sector clients?
  • What are the impacts of lower demand in systems with higher shares of variable renewable energy supply?
  • What are the best practices to respond to disruptions in our supply chains for parts that support gridwide maintenance and repair?
  • How can we consider energy development and clean energy as we turn to economic recovery and potential stimulus packages?
  • What are the best practices for building systems operations (such as heating ventilation or air conditioning) to support the health of occupants given COVID-19 pandemic?

Those requesting Ask an Expert assistance will receive a reply within two business days of when their request is submitted. If the request qualifies for assistance, the requestor will be matched with the expert most qualified to help and will begin receiving technical assistance at no cost via phone or email consultations.

Types of Technical Assistance

A figure demonstrating an energy system undergoing a disaster and the subsequent resilience planning phases undertaken after the disaster.

Resilience is a crosscutting theme that spans disaster response, recovery, and long-term resilience. All these stages work together to form a resilience framework that supports the overarching goal to strengthen a more resilient economy while ensuring governments can adequately respond to emergencies.

Response Phase

The response phase occurs during and in the immediate aftermath of an event like the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns ensuring power system reliability and function. USAID and NREL have experience with technologies and operational strategies that support quick power system response.

Recovery Phase

During the recovery phase, activities are focused on restoring the economy and the energy sector to some version of post-response operations. USAID and NREL have developed tools, such as the International Jobs and Economic Developments Model (I-JEDI), that assist with understanding how renewable energy development projects help employ communities and stimulate economies.

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I-JEDI estimates the employment, earnings, gross domestic product, and other economic impacts from the construction and operation of renewable energy projects and across the domestic supply chain. The model results include total economic impacts as well as impacts by industry (e.g., construction, manufacturing, banking services, etc.). This information helps align renewable energy action with key economic development goals.

Visit the I-JEDI website.

Planning for Long-Term Resilience Phase

Power sector resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions to the power sector through adaptable and holistic planning and technical solutions.

Emergencies such as COVID-19 expose the extent to which the power system is at risk from an array of natural, human-caused, and technological threats, which can cause everything from power interruption to chronic undersupply of energy.

USAID and NREL have extensive experience and expertise working with international stakeholders in planning for long-term resilience. Many of these resources can be found on the Resilience Energy Platform website.

  • Identify Threats

    Identify Threats

    Identify the potential threats to the power sector and score the likelihood of occurring.

  • Define Impacts

    Define Impacts

    Define the potential impacts on the power sector that may result from these threats.

  • Assess Vulnerabilities

    Assess Vulnerabilities

    Assess the vulnerabilities of the power sector and score their potential severity.

  • Calculate Risks

    Calculate Risks

    Calculate the risks resulting from linked threats and vulnerabilities in a risk matrix.

  • Develop Solutions

    Develop Solutions

    Develop and prioritize resilience action plans based on impact, ability to implement, and cost.

Additional NREL Resources

NREL supports increased resilience and security in the energy sector and dependent systems through analysis, decision support, and advanced energy technology validation and market expertise.  Learn more:

Integrated Energy Solutions – Resilient Energy Systems 

Resilience Roadmap.

External Resources

External analysis and research related to impacts of COVID-19 on energy systems globally can be found from the following resources: 

Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian Power Sector (USAID)

The Coronavirus Crisis Reminds Us That Electricity Is More Indispensable Than Ever (International Energy Agency)

International Energy Agency's COVID-19 Analysis Hub.


If you have any questions about the Ask an Expert service or want to submit a request for assistance, contact us.

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