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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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Putting renewable energy to work in rural areas

This chapter concludes Part I of this report and provides policy recommendations. Introducing a “spatial dimension” to the renewable energy strategy is likely to improve policy outcomes. Policy interventions should trigger collective actions involving a large number of regional actors. Most importantly, renewable energy should not be considered as a stand-alone sector, but rather should be connected to the industrial base and key assets of rural regions.

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