The socio-economic impacts of renewable energy in EU regions: Strengthening local benefits

This report examines the socio-economic effects of renewable energy deployment at the regional level in the EU and identifies on this basis factors that are conducive to an equitable energy transition.

According to a semi-systematic literature review, supported by five case studies, the single most important factor in unlocking local and regional benefits of renewables is the degree of ownership of the resources within the region. This is a robust finding across many types of regions, technologies, and research methodologies. Most of the literature is concerned with direct and indirect job creation and GDP growth.

While job creation can be significant, its level is dependent on regional characteristics, the location of the value chain, and other policies. The effects of direct revenues and GDP growth are generally more important and can be quite substantial in regions that are well suited to renewable energy and deploy it at a high level.

The policy framework deployed to support RES at regional level is very important for maximizing the socio-economic benefits. IEEP proposes a number of policy levers that are necessary to ensure that all regions, regardless of their natural advantages and disadvantages in terms of RES deployment, can benefit as much as possible from the potential of renewables to support sustainable and equitable economies.

  • Labour Market Policies – Supporting the transition for workers from carbon-intensive industries
  • Industrial Strategy – Ensuring that more of the value chain, including R&D, and manufacturing is located regionally
  • Alternative ownership models and community benefit sharing – Ensuring that local citizens and communities benefit directly from the renewable energy deployed near them
  • Regional governance arrangements – Avoiding bureaucratic delays and including communities in decisions around renewable
  • Financing options – Ensuring that funding is available to support the above, and ensuring that smaller actors have access to renewables projects

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