Assessing renewable energies’ impact on local community development
Generation from renewable energy sources in Romania increased from 1% in 2010 to approximately 11% in 2014 and is expected to reach 20% in 2020. While the development of renewables has a serious impact on the energy system, there are no studies which interconnect RES projects with the development of local communities in Romania. It worth asking however if renewable energy projects can have an impact on the development of communities where those RES projects are located.
In order to answer this question, current study evaluates the impact of RES on local community development by studying the relationship between different types of renewable energy projects (wind, solar, biomass and hydro) and variables which describe socio-political and economic development.
The first part of the project maps the RES resources in north-western Romania and existing RES projects. Further on, the research collects data on employment, infrastructure investments, local and regional taxes and revenues as well as on possible forward and backward linkage effects which were produced or influenced by RES projects.
The result showed important differences between types of renewable energy projects and effects those can have on local communities. Comparing solar and biomass power plants for example, we observe that biomass power plants are stronger interconnected with local community economic activities, while solar power plants have a limited effect on local economy. The influence of different RES projects is summarized in an RES impact index which describes the intensity of economic and social impact of RES projects on local communities.