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. 



Puglia, Italy

Puglia is a densely populated region with a complex mix of urban and rural landscapes. Located in the south-east of Italy, Puglia has a population of 4 million and a territory of approximately 19 000 km2. Its average population density is 210 inhabitants per km2 (Table 11.1), above both the national average and the threshold of 150 inhabitants per km2 which the OECD uses to define rural areas. However, Puglia includes both densely populated areas – like the cities of Foggia, Bari, Brindisi, Taranto and Lecce – and a large number of small towns, mostly located on the fertile plains (the Tavoliere delle Puglia); as well as remote rural communities in the mountainous areas in the region’s north and centre (Appennino Dauno and Gargano).


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