It is believed that renewable energy may become a dominant energy in the future. However, whether renewable energy can promote industry development like the use of fossil energy is still unknown. This paper uses social accounting matrix (SAM) multiplier model to analyze the economic effects of renewable and coal energy in China. The transmission mechanisms of renewable and coal energy on production factors are also compared from the perspective of sector industry chain based on the structural path analysis (SPA) analysis method. We found that; renewable energy plays a stronger role in promoting the national economy than coal energy. Meanwhile, renewable energy can better promote the upgrading of the industrial structure compared with coal energy. Additionally, renewable energy affects economic development, mainly through the intermediate industries such as electrical machinery manufacturing and transportation, warehousing and service industries. These findings provide further insights into the influence path of renewable energy, which yields important implications for reasonably designing and choosing new energy development planning.
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