Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is often seen as a barrier to expanding electricity access in a cost-effective way—but recent analyses suggest otherwise.
Addressing climate change is often thought to detract from economic growth, job creation, energy security and other priorities for developing countries. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is commonly seen as a barrier to expanding electricity access in a cost-effective manner.
But recent analyses conducted for Bangladesh suggest otherwise: expanding capacity of Bangladesh’s electricity sector can be achieved cost effectively by relying on clean energy solutions (renewable energy and energy efficiency). These solutions reduce emissions, increase jobs and improve human health through reduced air pollution.
Based on detailed modeling, the cumulative benefits of gradually increasing clean energy in Bangladesh’s power generation mix relative to business-as-usual could, by 2030:
- Reduce GHG emissions from the power sector by up to 20%
- Generate domestic employment of up to 55,000 full-time equivalent jobs
- Save up to 27,000 lives and over US$5 billion
The RALI Project, in partnership with the LEDS Global Partnership, in a case study, summarized the results of modeling to quantify the potential job impacts associated with two different clean energy scenarios, along with the health benefits derived from cleaner air.
Taken together, these benefits to people and the economy demonstrate that clean energy alternatives exist for developing countries, that have are more cost-effective than continued reliance on conventional electricity sources, and that should be considered when making long-term planning decisions about energy generation.
These types of positive benefits from clean energy are also likely to be achieved in other countries that currently have significant power generation from carbon-based fuels such as coal and petroleum. The case study further demonstrates that impacts on human health and employment from clean energy policies can be quantified with fairly limited country-specific data by leveraging existing research and data sources.
Specifically, human health impacts can be estimated without the need for detailed, country-specific emission monitoring, emission modeling, or detailed historical data—as long as there is some knowledge of the type of fuels being used and of the characteristics of the fuel, most importantly sulfur content.
Download the full paper here.