Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI


The impact of renewable energy policy on economic growth and employment in the European Union (EmployRES)

The Commission Communication “An energy policy for Europe” (Communication from the Commission to the European Council and the European Parliament - An energy policy for Europe {SEC(2007) 12} /* COM/2007/0001 final) clearly states the points of departure for a European energy policy as: “combating climate change, limiting the EU’s external vulnerability to imported hydrocarbons, and promoting growth and jobs”. The promotional effect of increased diffusion of renewables on the first two objectives is largely undisputed. Renewables have clearly shown to be an indispensable contribution to greenhouse gas reductions and increased security of supply in Europe.

There has been, however, uncertainty about the exact contribution of renewables to the third cornerstone: promoting growth and jobs in terms of the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy. As stated in the RES roadmap (Communication from the Commission to the European Council and the European Parliament - Renewable Energy Road Map Renewable energies in the 21st century: building a more sustainable future, COM (2006) 848 final, Brussels, 10.1.2007):
“Studies vary in their estimates of the GDP impact of increasing the use of renewables, some suggesting a small increase (of the order of 0.5%), and others a small decrease”.

While most policy makers believe that increased use of RES and job creation can permanently go hand in hand, others assume that the distribution effects and the budget effects turn a large gross employment effect into a small or even negative net employment effect. In December 2008 the Renewable Energy Directive was agreed by the European Parliament and the European Council. This Directive sets ambitious targets for each Member State with the aim of achieving a 20% share of renewable energy in Europe’s final energy consumption by 2020. In order to reach this target, it is important to gain further understanding and awareness of the economic and employment benefits from renewables.

The purpose of this study is to support an objective discussion on the effects of enhanced deployment of renewable energies on growth and employment by contributing to a sound scientific basis.


The specific aims of the project are to:

  • present an analysis of the effects on employment and economic growth due to RES deployment policies

  • enhance understanding of the various gross and net employment and growth impacts of (an accelerated diffusion of) renewables

  • be highly transparent, using a modelling system with a sound scientific basis in order to create full trust in the quality of the analysis

  • validate the methodology, assumptions and results in a scientific peer review, while incorporating stakeholder views through a consultation exercise.