Study suggests choice between green energy or economic growth

Posted: February 2, 2017 by oldbrew in Critique, Energy, research
Tags: ,

Which way next?

Which way next?

Those trying to make a business case for renewable energy may want to look away now. The assumption that vast numbers of solar panels and wind turbines are good for the environment is questionable.

Poverty, unemployment and zero economic growth are the likely outcome for countries which choose renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, according to a study.

Energy from fossil fuels appears to ignite economies into greater and more sustained growth, whereas energy from wind and solar power not only fails to enhance or promote economic growth, it actually causes economies to flat-line, as reports.

The results, from an in-depth study of more than 100 countries over 40 years, pose a serious ethical dilemma, according to the lead author, economist Dr Nikolaos Antonakakis, Visiting Fellow at the University of Portsmouth Business School and Associate Professor at Webster Vienna University.

Dr Antonakakis said: “Put simply, the more energy a country consumes, the more it pollutes the environment, the more its economy grows. And the more the economy grows, the more energy consumption it needs, and so on.

“This poses big questions. Should we choose high economic growth, which brings lower unemployment and wealth for many, but which is unsustainable for the environment? Or should we choose low or zero economic growth, which includes high unemployment and a greater degree of poverty, and save our environment?”

Dr Antonakakis and co-authors, Dr Ioannis Chatziantoniou, at the University of Portsmouth, and Dr George Filis, at Bournemouth University, set out to study whether environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption were more likely to enhance economic growth.

In the light of recent policies designed to promote the use of green energy, including tax credits for the production of renewable energy and reimbursements for the installation of renewable energy systems, the authors predicted that environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption would enhance economic growth. Dr Antonakakis said: “It turned out not to be the case.”

They argue that societies now need to rethink their approach toward environmental sustainability, and strongly question the efficacy of the recent trend in many countries to promote renewable energy resources as a reliable alternative for helping achieve and maintain good economic growth.

The report continues here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    Here’s how the Australian PM sees it.

    Date: 01/02/17 Simon Benson, The Australian

    Australia’s Turnbull government is planning to help fund the construction of new clean-coal-fired power stations­ in an extraordinary meas­ure to intervene in the looming energ­y security and pricing crisis.

  2. Tim Hammond says:

    Why not ask those we are condemning to poverty and early death?

    Instead of a few people who have very comfortable lives and whose salaries and pensions are usually forced on taxpayers?

  3. hunter says:

    Not completely off topic:

    Climate extremists terrorize and abuse children in sham lawsuit.

  4. The theory of enerconics derives from the fact that you can measure an economy using any constrained variable, of which two common ones are energy and money. (although obviously in a society without money – money isn’t one of them).

    As such the theory implies that you get fairly much the same answer if you use money or the energy equivalent of money.

    What this means, in simple terms, is that if doing something isn’t economically profitable, then it is likely also to be energetically “unprofitable”. So, when you have a choice between gas and “renewables” to power your economy, and if renewables are much higher in real terms prices, this also is an extremely good indication that you are getting less energy out of renewables for the work you put in than you do with gas. Or to turn it around, you are getting less work out of the energy production system.

  5. A C Osborn says:

    Since when is “the more energy a country consumes, the more it pollutes the environment” a given?
    Older Responsible Countries clean up their pollution, it is emerging markets that pollute the most.

  6. oldbrew says:

    ACO: under the US EPA definition carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

    Of course it’s a nonsense, but there it is.

  7. Bitter&twisted says:

    Well done to Dr Antonakakis for his statement of the bleedin’ obvious!

    I take it that the BBC and Horrorbin will be featuring this prominently?

  8. ivan says:

    What is it with these academics of the green persuasion that they appear so blinded to the past?

    You only have to look at the UK before and after the industrial revolution. Before, it was hard grind for almost everyone. After, as steam power became more readily available, the hard grind became much less of a grind and the economy flourished. It has always been thus and always will be, give people cheap reliable power and they will advance – expensive unreliable power and they will be held back.

  9. roger says:

    Today we learn that Npower are increasing their gas price by 4.8% and electricity by 15% from March.
    So why the big 15% increase in electric when CCGT provides 50% of the output, using gas which is increased by only 4.8%?
    Surely wind and sun are free?
    Where Npower leads the rest will soon follow.
    How will the jam, just about managing, cope?
    £109pa increase for a dual bill payer will hit them hard.
    Theresa May needs to review this scam soon or a UKIP resurgence will result very quickly.

  10. oldbrew says:

    roger: nothing new is it?

    2010 news: A German-owned energy supplier has been named as Britain’s worst utility company, responsible for ‘abject’ customer service.

    npower, which has 6.5 million UK customers and is owned by German giant RWE, tops a league of shame compiled by the consumer group Which? following a survey of 8,000 of its members.

    Read more:

  11. tom0mason says:

    So enamored of Trump and his energy policies are the Japanese that they now are planning 45 new coal-fired generating plants. Now watch as more greenie-heads explode.

    Originally from
    via blog site.

    Japan may be beginning to understand they need more reliability in the power supply system.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Report: Money for nothing? Capacity market clears at £5-£10/kW

    One industry analyst, EnAppSys, suggested that “it appears that people are pricing themselves in the auction on the principle it is free money“.
    – – –
    All paid for by hapless electricity consumers of course.

  13. Jeff says:

    It would be interesting to see the cost of pollution and how it was compared in the study. There has always been a tendency to not put a value (or sufficient value) on the global commons (air, water, land) and that tends to skew the economic analysis. Not to say that “green” energy is totally clean (it isn’t) but what level of mercury from coal emissions is acceptable to the population? or in another example, how “restored” would a coal mine and mining waste need to be?

  14. But if the energy consumed is from clean and f=green energy how is that gonna be a problem. I do not think energy consumed can be equated to economic growth as it does not reflect or answers billions of questions.