Quantifying the economic benefits of generation alternatives.
Donald Harker is a director in Navigant Consulting’s energy practice. Peter Hans Hirschboeck is a senior consultant in the firm’s energy practice and also serves on the NERC solar data collection working group.
Around the world, countries look to the electric power industry to create good jobs and be a fundamental force in their local economies. Green, clean and renewable forms of power production are seen by some to be harbingers of the so-called “new” economy by providing both growth and reliable jobs as the industry transforms itself. Traditional forms of power generation lack the panache of the new economy and face economic, environmental, and regulatory uncertainties, yet through their incumbency they provide the vast majority of current industry jobs.
Clear, concise, and unambiguous economic comparisons across all forms of generation technologies appear to be extinct. Numerous tools and models allow decision makers to assess prospective benefits and account for direct, indirect, and induced economic effects, but no one appears to have looked across the spectrum of generation technologies and asked, “What does current actual data show?” To put it another way, if a county economic developer asked, “What would be the employment impact of this generation technology on my community?” where might he or she find a simple answer?
Producing that simple answer requires performing a complex analysis.