PublicationJournal Article Promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in Africa: a framework to evaluate employment generation and cost effectiveness

Published:
March 7, 2017
Author(s):
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Topics:
  • Africa; green jobs
Abstract:

The ongo­ing debate over the cost-​​effectiveness of renew­able energy (RE) and energy effi­ciency (EE) deploy­ment often hinges on the cur­rent cost of incum­bent fossil-​​fuel tech­nolo­gies ver­sus the long-​​term ben­e­fit of clean energy alter­na­tives. This debate is often focused on mature or ‘indus­tri­al­ized’ economies and exter­nal­i­ties such as job cre­ation. In many ways, how­ever, the sit­u­a­tion in devel­op­ing economies is at least as or even more inter­est­ing due to the gen­er­ally faster cur­rent rate of eco­nomic growth and of infra­struc­ture deploy­ment. On the one hand, RE and EE could help decar­bonize economies in devel­op­ing coun­tries, but on the other hand, higher upfront costs of RE and EE could ham­per short-​​term growth. The method­ol­ogy devel­oped in this paper con­firms the exis­tence of this trade-​​off for some sce­nar­ios, yet at the same time pro­vides con­sid­er­able evi­dence about the pos­i­tive impact of EE and RE from a job cre­ation and employ­ment per­spec­tive. By extend­ing and adopt­ing a method­ol­ogy for Africa designed to cal­cu­late employ­ment from elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion in the U.S., this study finds that energy sav­ings and the con­ver­sion of the elec­tric­ity sup­ply mix to renew­able energy gen­er­ates employ­ment com­pared to a ref­er­ence sce­nario. It also con­cludes that the costs per addi­tional job cre­ated tend to decrease with increas­ing lev­els of both EE adop­tion and RE shares.

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