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Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development

image of Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development

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. 

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Executive summary

Renewable energy (RE) is being championed in many places as a potentially significant new source of jobs and rural growth in OECD countries, and as a means of addressing environmental and energy security concerns. In most countries, governments have invested large amounts of public money to support RE development and are requiring significant quantities of RE to be sold by energy providers. But what are the economic impacts of these policies and investments? Can RE really help to develop rural economies? These are some of the questions explored by this report, which presents the results of a two-year study of the impact of RE on rural development. Drawing on case studies in 16 regions across Europe and North America, it finds that while RE indeed represents an opportunity for stimulating economic growth in host communities, it also requires a complex and flexible policy framework and a long-term strategy.

English

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