It can also increase incomes, improve trade balances, and contribute to industrial development, if the right policies and frameworks are in place.
That's according to a new report released by the Clean Energy Ministerial's Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group. "As many economies are still recovering from the global financial crisis, renewable energy offers an opportunity to grow economies, improve energy security, enhance energy access, and mitigate climate change," said International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "Policy makers around the world are exploring ways to stimulate social and economic growth through the renewable energy sector, and this report is an important step to support them on this path." The report focuses on key macroeconomic variables for assessing economic impact—including value added, gross domestic product, welfare, and employment—and looks at opportunities at each stage of the renewable energy life cycle, from project planning and manufacturing to maintenance and decommissioning. The report also analyses policies that stimulate the deployment of renewables, as well as those policies that help build a domestic industry by encouraging investment and technology transfer; strengthening firm-level capabilities; and promoting education, training, research, and innovation. Case studies are used to support key recommendations for policy options to maximize value creation. Finally, the report provides guidance on the selection of tools that can be used to assess socio-economic impacts of renewable energy deployment.