The Health Benefits of Solar Power Generation: Evidence from Chile

Environmental Defense Fund Economics Discussion Paper Series, EDF EDP 21-02

59 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 5 May 2021

See all articles by Nathaly M. Rivera

Nathaly M. Rivera

University of São Paulo (USP)

Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Elisheba Spiller

Environmental Defense Fund

Date Written: February 19, 2021

Abstract

Renewable energy can yield social benefits through local air quality improvements and their subsequent effects on human health. We estimate some of these benefits using data gathered during the rapid adoption of large-scale solar power generation in Chile over the last decade. Relying on exogenous variation from incremental solar generation capacity over time, we find that solar energy displaces fossil fuel generation (primarily coal-fired generation) and curtails hospital admissions, particularly those due to lower respiratory diseases. These effects are noted mostly in cities downwind of displaced fossil fuel generation and are present across all age groups. Our results document the existence of an additional channel through which renewable energy can increase social welfare.

Keywords: Coal-fired power plants, coal displacement, solar generation, power plants, pollution, morbidity, developing countries, Latin America

JEL Classification: I18, L94, Q42, Q53

Suggested Citation

Rivera, Nathaly M. and Ruiz-Tagle, Cristobal and Spiller, Elisheba, The Health Benefits of Solar Power Generation: Evidence from Chile (February 19, 2021). Environmental Defense Fund Economics Discussion Paper Series, EDF EDP 21-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3789139 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3789139

Nathaly M. Rivera (Contact Author)

University of São Paulo (USP) ( email )

Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto 380
Sao Paulo, 05508-010
Brazil

Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Elisheba Spiller

Environmental Defense Fund ( email )

257 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
United States

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