Europe’s Rural Regions Reap Benefits From Transitioning to Clean Energy

A new study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung has found that the transition to renewable energy will bring numerous benefits to rural EU regions, with an increase of up to 4.9 percent in employment and up to 1,570 euros per capita in added value by 2050. However, it could present challenges to urban areas, with a decrease of up to 2,450 euros per capita in value added and up to 2.1 percent less employment by 2050.

Thomas Schwab, Economist at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, said: “The energy transition opens up opportunities for rural regions, while new challenges arise for urban centers. What is needed in view of these regional differences is an expansion of the strategy. On the one hand, the negative effects must be counteracted, particularly in urban regions. On the other hand, rural regions must be helped to realize their full potential. An adapted European cohesion policy is now more necessary than ever to meet these challenges.”

The EU is aiming for climate neutrality by 2050 as part of its Green Deal, and the decarbonisation of the European energy system is key to this. The Bertelsmann Stiftung study shows that rural areas with high potential for generating renewable energy are likely to benefit the most, while urban areas may struggle, due to their potential for generating renewable energy and their economic structures.

In order to address these regional differences, the study suggests that an adapted European cohesion policy is needed. This would involve counteracting the negative effects in urban regions and helping rural regions realise their full potential.

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