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Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 509; doi:10.3390/su9040509

Renewable Energy Project as a Source of Innovation in Rural Communities: Lessons from the Periphery

Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Clinicilor street, 5-7, Cluj-Napoca 400006, Romania
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Academic Editor: Francesco Asdrubali
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilience to Natural and Man-Made Disasters)
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Abstract

Renewable energy projects (REPs) are viewed as a resource for the development of rural, peripheral communities. Going beyond the simplistic understanding of renewable energy technology as an independent variable, the current study looks into what the interaction between renewables and host communities brings in terms of innovation and development. Relying on a combination of primary and secondary data, both qualitative and quantitative, we observed that for the case of northwest Romania the fast development of REPs had no impact on classic economic indicators such as employment or revenue to the local budget. Looking closely at the impact on innovation as an important explanatory factor of peripheralization, in the majority of researched cases we saw no technical nor policy-related innovation associated with REPs. The presence of a privately-owned project in the territory of the community acted as a possible catalyst for considering developing their own REPs however. Owning a renewable energy project at the same time proved to have a positive impact on policy-related innovation. Moreover, communities that developed and manage their own REPs seem also to be more interested in changing the existing technological arrangements as well. View Full-Text
Keywords: renewable energy projects; peripheralization; innovation; development renewable energy projects; peripheralization; innovation; development
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Cebotari, S.; Benedek, J. Renewable Energy Project as a Source of Innovation in Rural Communities: Lessons from the Periphery. Sustainability 2017, 9, 509.

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