Within the next years, the European Union will see a substantial acceleration in renewable energy projects being deployed. An implementation of wind turbines, solar panels and other technologies is not only crucial to meet the climate targets of the Paris Agreement and the European Climate Law, but can also spark a variety of positive impacts on people’s lives.
However, we need to think on a much more local level when implementing transition policies. Renewables create employment and economic activity in a more geographically dispersed way than conventional energy industries. Therefore a just transition must be taken into account.
The study compares five different EU regions, and finds that, despite many differences, the socio-economic impacts of renewable energies are generally positive. However, the study is very clear that the full socio-economic potential can only be realised if flanked by adequate policy measures.
In the Czech Northwestern region (region Severozápad), 10,000 jobs in the coal industry today will be compensated by only an estimated 2,300 future jobs in the renewable sector. But enabling regional and local stakeholders by giving them access to training, capital and participatory ownership models will help maximise the immense socio-economic potential of renewables.
Stainforth, T., Gore, T., & Urios Culiañez, J. ‘The socio-economic impacts of renewable energy in EU regions’ (2021) Institute for European Environmental Policy