Renewable Energy Development and Economic Growth

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The growth of adoption of renewable energies is affected primarily by its many motivations as well as limitations in applications. In rural areas, this adoption is found to be shaped by additional modifiers that are endemic to poverty, such as steep necessity for cost-effectiveness, social and cultural attitudes towards renewables, and accessibility (particularly in sparse areas). These factors, as well as many others, are discussed in this review, along with case studies and the generalisations that can be made from them and their citations.

Renewable energy is being championed as a probable vital new supplier of jobs and rural growth in OECD countries, and a way of addressing environmental and energy security considerations. In most countries, governments have endowed large shares of public money to support Renewable Energy development and area unit requiring vital quantities of it to be oversubscribed by energy suppliers. This is often not gonna produce ton of jobs, however some extra employment opportunities in rural areas could be created. Making a positive association between Renewable Energy development and native economic growth process would force additional coherent methods, the proper set of native conditions, and a place-based approach to readying.

To predict and dissect the manner in which the aforementioned adoption spreads, we must first understand what fuels the adoption itself and what competing energy sources exist in place that must be replaced. One popular existing energy source is natural unprocessed biogas. Biogas sources are usually in the form of fuelwood, charcoal, animal and agricultural wastes, etcetera. Found typically in developing countries in Africa and Asia, these are the main source of heat for activities such as cooking. 

The primary issue with these sources is the massively uncontrolled generation of particulate matter; rural societies who wholly rely on natural biogas are exposed to these fumes constantly, which can cause serious respiratory ailments and death. In 2015, around 1.3 million people were identified to have died from exposure to fumes from indoor cooking using biomass. In Bangladesh, It is estimated that the inhalation of biomass smoke has been responsible for more deaths than malaria, with around 46,000 women and children dying annually whilst millions more contract diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular ailments, problems with eyesight, tuberculosis, etcetera. The trend of moving away from these particular biogas sources is thus, in part, motivated by its immense danger.

Another motivation for developing countries to move towards emerging safer and more renewable technologies is their rapid economic growth and increasing literacy rate. When the majority of a population starts to aspire for better living conditions, the net energy requirement of the population naturally rises. For countries on the cusp of economic success, this requirement can be met through government subsidization and targeted efforts of gentrification. However, for other countries that are growing but haven’t achieved economic stability yet, or for countries with poor deposits of fossil fuels, the only meaningful solution is to make the switch to cheap, renewable and pollution-free energy sources. These sources will be discussed in the next section.

The development of renewable energy sources in rural areas requires investors that are interested in sinking expense into the issue. These agents/entities can be referred to as the ‘stake-holders’ of the issue, and are a crucial motivation for the observed developmental push. The primary stakeholder in this issue in most rural zones of the world is typically a national or local institute, such as the government or a local representations of the state, such as a municipality. 

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These entities are typically directly involved in many projects that graft renewable and cheap sources in commonised rural areas but are majorly lacking in judicial size and framework when it comes to tackling such issues. Their principal contribution is instead in the form of providing infrastructure with subsidized costs and funding. Another agent of development in this particular case is NGOs; where government led initiatives fail, NGOs succeed thanks to their well-built network. 

NGOs are farther reaching and can better distribute the services provided by the government. They work on a closer scale and generally functions as the mesh between government efforts and grassroot changes. Foreign NGOs further empower the network of the local ones which in turn increases the attention shed onto the problem, which in turn fuels further funding. Aside from these two stake-holders, solutions also materialize from academic institutions. There are many universities in the world that work on minimizing costs and testing new and unorthodox fuel sources. Bolivian universities even include graduate courses focused on the management of renewable energy.

A major antagonist in the adoption of renewables by rural zones is the low literacy rates of the people endemic to these areas. In 2016, a study was conducted in Tanzania that explored the relation between the cultural understanding of renewable energies and their rate of adoption. Members of multiple rural villages in Tanzania were surveyed via focus group meetings with questions that revolve around how renewable energy sources were perceived. There were also direct observation sessions where the researcher spent the entire day with members of the village, indulging in rapport building activities such as collection of firewood and sometimes even overnight stays. 

The study found that most members of the local communities were very unfamiliar with terminology such as ‘energy’ and ‘renewables’. Participants in the study were found to be more involved in emerging irrigation technologies rather than in the impact of renewable energy sources and its socio-economic impact. Additionally, many participants perceived alternatives such as solar panels to be an unaffordable means of energy technology that would not be sustainable. As long as the indigenous people of areas such as these are ignorant to the complex issue of renewable energy adoption, they will be unsupportive of such energy projects.

Adoption of Renewable energy resources increases the tax base for improving service provision in rural communities. It can also generate extra income for land owners and land-based activities. For example, farmers and forest owners who integrating renewable energy production into their activities have diversified, increased, and stabilised their income sources.

New job and business opportunities, especially when a large number of actors is involved and when the Renewable Energy activity is embedded in the local economy. Although Renewable Energy tends to have a limited impact on local labour markets, it can create some valuable job opportunities for people in regions where there are otherwise limited employment opportunities. Renewable Energy can create direct jobs, such as in operating and maintaining equipment. However, most long-term jobs are indirect, arising along the renewable energy supply-chain (manufacturing, specialised services), and by adapting existing expertise to the needs of renewable energy. 

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