The COVID-19 pandemic may cause short-term delays and hiccups for distributed energy projects — but some industry players are optimistic that unlike other sectors, demand for distributed storage and other systems will remain steady and even see an uptick in the long run.

The circumstances of the outbreak and the raft of restrictions that states have implemented to prevent its spread could spur interest in distributed systems that provide resilience and self-reliance, experts think. When people are isolated they feel vulnerable and are more aware of the limitations of existing systems, Ashley Wald, a partner at Holland & Hart, who advises renewable energy developers, told Utility Dive. The coronavirus is “a glaring example of how our systems are lacking,” she said.

“What’s been impressive is the response to the pandemic —​ whether you’re looking at California or elsewhere across the country —​ has been, if nothing [else], a renewed push for these technologies,” Wald said.

This is a marked difference in outlook from conversations she’s been having with colleagues who focus on other energy sectors, some of which are seeing demand dry up. Customers are going to look to smarter technologies that will continue to be available during a pandemic like this, according to Wald.

Read more: Utility Dive