Energy-Based Economic Development

The fields of economic development and energy policy and planning have converged in recent years to form an emerging discipline, which we term “energy-based economic development” (EBED). Despite the significant amount of stimulus funds, as well as state and local funding, that are being allocated to EBED initiatives in the United States, the emerging discipline has received scant attention in the energy, policy, and development literature. The link between energy and economic development in the literature is still theoretical, mostly focused on the need for and the potential benefits of EBED, and rarely applied. Furthermore, funding for EBED has outpaced understanding of the discipline, development of rigorous technical approaches, and meaningful ways to measure impact. Such information would not only help practitioners and policymakers more thoroughly understand the confines of the discipline and shape goals and approaches accordingly, but it would also help researchers identify, track, and evaluate a variety of activities in the field. With national and international attention focused on the convergence of these fields, researchers and practitioners have a rare opportunity to develop and implement the tools necessary to evaluate and communicate the potentially broader impacts that EBED may hold for society. If ways to leverage and sustain the injection of funds in this discipline are not identified, the opportunity may end before we can achieve either energy policy or economic development goals. In an attempt to respond to this need, this analysis explores the connection between energy and economic development, beginning with a review of the trends in each field and the goals that each seeks to achieve. On the basis of this information, we define the discipline of EBED, review the existing literature on it, and offer insights and perspectives on its emergence.
stimulus funding, economic development, energy planning, energy policy
Carley, S., Lawrence, S., Brown, A., Nourafshan, A., Benami, E., 2010. Energy-Based Economic Development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 14(9).
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