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How Renewable Energy can Drive Post-COVID Recovery

Almost everyone has memories from the beginnings of COVID-19 of cleaner skies and water. This was a prime example of how implicating restrictions can lead to positive change in a very short period of time. Now as COVID is coming to an end, policy to recover national economies is coming forth. This is an ideal time for implementing policy change, not just for the economy but also green energy for our futures.

One of the most clear cut benefits of renewable energy is improved quality of life in polluted areas.  One lesser realized benefit is heightened independence for both the country and its citizens. If renewable energy sources are set up in a country they are no longer reliant on other countries for their vital supply. If a small village has local solar panels set up they are no longer reliant on their country to provide power in an expensive time consuming way. This freedom means an ability to get internet for school or work, electric pumps for cleaner water, and many others.

On a more economic perspective, there would be a major reduction in import costs of coalin some countries. In India for example, switching over just half of their energy to renewable could mean saving $90 Billion from 2021 to 2030. Additionally, the possibility for job creation is outstanding. The article states that every $1 million invested in renewables could create 25 new jobs, while traditional energy plants only create about 10 per $1 million investment. In India, 1.3 million jobs could be created if 160 GW of energy production was switched to renewable by 2022.

When evaluating this case through the lens of business ethics you must view different countries in the same way you assess different corporations. This comparison raises the dilemma of if a company with limited resources should be held to the same ethical standards as one with abundant resources. A good example of this double standard is how Europe is so far ahead in green energy even before stimulus bills came out. This made it a lot is per for them to include renewable energy plans in their proposals as the infrastructure was already there. Should companies that are just starting out be required to also put the social cost first or should we follow the principle of all businesses simply aiming to profit?

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