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Exploiting the Oil-GDP Effect to Support Renewables Deployment

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The empirical evidence from a growing body of academic literature clearly suggests that oil price increases and volatility dampen macroeconomic growth by raising inflation and unemployment and by depressing the value of financial and other assets. Surprisingly, this issue seems to have received little attention from energy policy makers. In percentage terms, the Oil-GDP effect is relatively small, producing losses in the order of 0.5% of GDP for a 10% oil price increase. In absolute terms however, even a 10% oil price rise. and oil has risen at least 50% in the last year alone. produces GDP losses that, could they have been averted, would significantly offset the cost of increased RE deployment. While we focus on renewables, the GDP offset applies equally to energy efficiency, DSM and nuclear and other non-fossil technologies. This paper draws on the empirical Oil-GDP literature, which we summarize, to show that by displacing gas and oil, renewable energy investments can help nations avoid costly macroeconomic losses produced by the Oil-GDP effect. We show that a 10% increase in RE share avoids GDP losses in the range of $29.$53 billion in the US and the EU ($49.$90 billion for OECD). These avoided losses offset one-fifth of the RE investment needs projected by the EREC and half the OECD investment projected by a G-8 Task Force. For the US, the figures further suggest that each additional kW of renewables, on average, avoids $250.$450 in GDP losses, a figure that varies across technologies as a function of annual capacity factors. We approximate that the offset is worth $200/kW for wind and solar and $800/kW for geothermal and biomass (and probably nuclear). The societal valuation of non-fossil alternatives needs to reflect the avoided GDP losses, whose benefit is not fully captured by private investors. This said, we fully recognize that wealth created in this manner does not directly form a pool of public funds that is easily earmarked for renewables support. Finally, the Oil-GDP relationship has important implications for correctly estimating direct electricity generating cost for conventional and renewable alternatives and for developing more useful energy security and diversity concepts. We also address these issues.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 129.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:129

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Keywords: Oil price shocks; oil price volatility; Oil-GDP effects; renewable energy; RES-E targets; financial beta risk; funding renewables;

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Cited by:
  1. Chang, Ting-Huan & Huang, Chien-Ming & Lee, Ming-Chih, 2009. "Threshold effect of the economic growth rate on the renewable energy development from a change in energy price: Evidence from OECD countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5796-5802, December.
  2. Imran Shah, 2012. "Revisiting the Dynamic Effects of Oil Price Shock on Small Developing Economies," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 12/626, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Rentschler, Jun E., 2013. "Oil price volatility, economic growth and the hedging role of renewable energy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6603, The World Bank.
  4. Halkos, George & Tzeremes, Nickolaos, 2013. "Renewable energy consumption and economic efficiency: Evidence from European countries," MPRA Paper 44136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Marques, António Cardoso & Fuinhas, José Alberto, 2011. "Drivers promoting renewable energy: A dynamic panel approach," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 1601-1608, April.
  6. Dornan, Matthew & Jotzo, Frank, 2011. "Electricity Generation in Fiji: Assessing the Impact of Renewable Technologies on Costs and Financial Risk," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100544, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  7. Roques, F.A. & Nuttall, W.J. & Newbery, D.M. & de Neufville, R., 2005. "Nuclear Power: a Hedge against Uncertain Gas and Carbon Prices?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0555, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Fang, Yiping, 2011. "Economic welfare impacts from renewable energy consumption: The China experience," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(9), pages 5120-5128.
  9. Shimon Awerbuch, 2006. "Portfolio-Based Electricity Generation Planning: Policy Implications For Renewables And Energy Security," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 693-710, May.
  10. Matthew Dornan & Frank Jotzo, 2012. "Renewable Technologies and Risk Mitigation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Fiji’s Electricity Sector," Development Policy Centre Discussion Papers 1213, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  11. Moran, Dominic & Sherrington, Chris, 2007. "An economic assessment of windfarm power generation in Scotland including externalities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2811-2825, May.
  12. Muhammad, Shahbaz Shabbir & Muhammad, Zeshan & Muhammad, Shahbaz, 2011. "Renewable and nonrenewable energy consumption, real GDP and CO2 emissions nexus: a structural VAR approach in Pakistan," MPRA Paper 34859, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Nov 2011.
  13. Shahbaz, Muhammad & Zeshan, Muhammad & Tiwari, Aviral Kumar, 2011. "Analysis of renewable and nonrenewable energy consumption, real GDP and CO2 emissions: A structural VAR approach in Romania," MPRA Paper 34066, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Oct 2011.
  14. Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark, 2007. "Can deployment of renewable energy put downward pressure on natural gas prices?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 295-306, January.
  15. Menegaki, Angeliki, 2008. "Valuation for renewable energy: A comparative review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 12(9), pages 2422-2437, December.
  16. Yoon, Kyung Hwan & Ratti, Ronald A., 2011. "Energy price uncertainty, energy intensity and firm investment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 67-78, January.
  17. Aviral Kumar Tiwari, 2011. "Comparative performance of renewable and nonrenewable energy source on economic growth and CO2 emissions of Europe and Eurasian countries: A PVAR approach," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(3), pages 2356-2372.
  18. Allan, Grant J. & Bryden, Ian & McGregor, Peter G. & Stallard, Tim & Kim Swales, J. & Turner, Karen & Wallace, Robin, 2008. "Concurrent and legacy economic and environmental impacts from establishing a marine energy sector in Scotland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2734-2753, July.
  19. Manso, José Ramos Pires & Behmiri, Niaz Bashiri, 2013. "Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development/Energía renovable y Desarrollo Sostenible," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 7-34, Enero.
  20. Maslyuk, Svetlana & Dharmaratna, Dinusha, 2013. "Renewable Electricity Generation, CO2 Emissions and Economic Growth: Evidence from Middle-Income Countries in Asia /Generación de electricidad renovable, las emisiones de CO2 y crecimiento económico," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 217-244, Enero.
  21. Halkos, George & Tzeremes, Nickolaos, 2013. "The effect of electricity consumption from renewable sources on countries’ economic growth levels: Evidence from advanced, emerging and developing economies," MPRA Paper 50630, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Ibrahim Halil Eksi & Mehmet Senturk & H. Semih Yildirim, 2012. "Sensitivity of Stock Market Indices to Oil Prices: Evidence from Manufacturing Sub-Sectors in Turkey," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 59(4), pages 463-474, September.
  23. Aviral Kumar Tiwari, 2011. "A structural VAR analysis of renewable energy consumption, real GDP and CO2 emissions: Evidence from India," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(2), pages 1793-1806.

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