Creative destruction during crises: An opportunity for a cleaner energy mix

Published on by Pragyan Deb, Davide Furceri, Jonathan D. Ostry, Nour Tawk on 31 January 2022.

“Lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic reduced overall energy demand in 2020. However, electricity generation from renewable sources was surprisingly resilient and, as a result, the share of renewables in electricity demand increased in many regions (International Energy Agency 2020). What remains an open question is whether recessions of themselves tend to spur investments in more efficient, greener, energy sources, or instead to continue investing in old coal-based plants. On one hand, the disruption in financing engendered by the crisis may reduce innovation through lower research and development, which is highly procyclical (De Haas et al. 2021). On the other, lower energy demand and associated plant closures brought about by the recession may provide energy producers with an opportunity to improve their efficiency by replacing older environmentally unfriendly plants with renewable sources of energy when demand recovers. The idea that outdated units are destroyed and replaced by newer technological innovations goes back to Joseph A. Schumpeter’s thesis on ‘creative destruction’ (Schumpeter 1939, 1942), with economic disruptions such as the one brought about by the pandemic acting as a time of cleansing (Caballero and Hammour 1994).”

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Posted by at 2:25 PM

Labels: Energy & Climate Change


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