Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development

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In many OECD countries, governments have invested large amounts of public money to support renewable energy (RE) development and are requiring significant quantities of it to be sold by energy providers. But what are the economic impacts of these policies on the rural regions where deployment takes place? How can RE bring the greatest benefit to host regions? These are some of the questions explored by this study. Drawing on case studies in 16 regions within 10 countries, the research finds that while RE indeed represents an opportunity for stimulating economic growth in rural communities, its development benefits are not automatic. Realising them requires a complex and flexible policy framework and a long-term strategy, as well as a realistic appreciation of the potential gains from RE deployment.  Making a positive connection between RE development and local economic growth will require more coherent strategies, the right set of local conditions, and a place-based approach to deployment. 


Abruzzo, Italy

Abruzzo is a predominately rural region in the middle of Italy, on the Adriatic coast. It covers 10 800 square kilometres and its population in 2010 was 1.3 million people; its population density is lower than the national average. Abruzzo has a very diverse landscape, ranging from coastal, where the bulk of the population and economic activities are located, to mountainous, where the regional capital L’Aquila is located. L’Aquila was seriously hit by an earthquake in 2009, which damaged the historical centre of the city and most of its socio-economic activities. Other regional urban centres are Pescara, Chieti, and Teramo.


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