Increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix to 36% by 2030 would increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 1.1%, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
A recently released report, Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics, says GDP could increase by US$1.3 trillion if the global share of renewable energy were doubled from 2010 levels. For perspective, US$1.3 trillion is more than the current combined economies of Chile, South Africa and Switzerland.
IRENA says renewable energy includes bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind.
“This analysis provides compelling evidence that achieving the needed energy transition [of decarbonizing the energy sector] would not only mitigate climate change but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide,” said Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA.
The report also analyzes country-specific impact, with Japan seeing the largest growth in GDP at 2.3%.
In addition, “improvements in human welfare would go well beyond gains in GDP thanks to a range of social and environmental benefits,” IRENA says. Global welfare could increase by as much as 3.7% and employment in the renewable energy sector would increase to more than 24 million global jobs by 2030, compared with 9.2 million today.