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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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Region Zealand, Denmark

Denmark’s Region Zealand is one of the five Danish regional administrative units created in 2007 and covers most of the island of Region Zealand and several smaller islands, including Lolland and Falster. It has a total territory of 7 273 km2. Region Zealand is home to approximately 820 000 people (Table 8.1). The region has a diverse pattern of settlement that ranges from peri-metropolitan to predominantly rural areas. This diversity arises because Copenhagen, the national capital, is located in the north of the island of Zealand and its functional area effectively encompasses part of Region Zealand. People living in this part of Region Zealand depend on Copenhagen economically. The centre of the region is home to a number of medium-sized cities, including the administrative regional capital, Sorø. The southern part of the region has the lowest population density, with approximately 50 inhabitants per km2 in Lolland Island, for example. Lolland, which is the focus of this study, is a large plain with an average elevation of 25m above sea level and 46 000 inhabitants.

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