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. 


Québec, Canada

Due to its vast territory, “rural” is a diverse concept in Québec. The province covers approximately 1.5 million km2 and is home to 7.7 million people; about 23% of the population of Canada (Table 7.1). Average population density is very low but the bulk of the population is concentrated in urban centres in the south of the province: Montréal, Québec City, and Gatineau together are home to 80% of Québec’s population. Despite this demographic concentration, there is no clear urban-rural dichotomy but rather a range of different degrees of rurality.


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