The Socio-economic Benefits of Solar Power and Wind Energy

With many economies facing slow growth prospects, policy makers increasingly see chances for greater income, improved trade balances, industrial development and job creation through renewable energy deployment. However, detailed evidence on these effects remains limited.

The Socio-economic Benefits of Solar and Wind Energy, an ‘econValue’ report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), sheds light on the value-creation potential of solar and wind power, in particular, as a crucial first step for continuing research and analysis. Produced in cooperation with the Clean Energy Ministerial, the report presents a conceptual framework for analysing macroeconomic, distributional, energy-related and other effects of large-scale renewable energy deployment.

Value can be created in each step of manufacturing, from sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing of components to final assembly and installation. The presence of other industries – like steel or automotive production (for wind turbines), semi-conductors (for solar photovoltaics), or glass making (for concentrated solar power) – facilitates the development of local renewable energy manufacturing.

Upgrading power grids to integrate renewables also contributes to broader value creation, while operation and maintenance of renewable energy facilities creates long-term jobs for plant monitoring, equipment inspections and repair services. With the emergence of a local renewable energy industry, numerous opportunities for domestic value creation arise along all segments of the value chain.