The socioeconomic impacts of local energy programmes: a case study of Avrig, Romania

Ramona Miron (Institute for Economics and the Environment, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland and Faculty of Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Publication date: 8 April 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the expected economic and social effects of the “Local Energy Plan” – a programme of the local administration that aims to transform the Romanian town Avrig until 2020 into an energy independent town relying exclusively on renewable energy resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a mixed-method approach to investigate the effects of a small town's transition to renewable energy. This approach consists of a series of in-depth interviews with the local authorities, investors, other representatives of the business sector and citizens of Avrig and economic modelling to determine the direct effects generated by the implementation of different renewable energy projects.

Findings

The results of this study show that transitioning to renewable energy could have a significant positive impact on the town's economy, however, improvements of the Local Energy Plan are needed especially regarding the planned capacities and the involvement of the local community.

Practical implications

While investigating, through in-depth interviews, the overall perceptions and attitudes of the different stakeholders regarding the transition of the town to renewable energy a communication gap has been observed. The study may represent a turning point for the local administrations strategy towards its energy goals.

Originality/value

Combining economic modelling and quantitative research methods this paper provides a holistic image of the socioeconomic impacts of the Local Energy Plan in the small town Avrig. The results and suggestions could contribute to the successful transition to renewable energy of Avrig.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is part of the research project: IRenES – “The Impact of Renewable Energy Policies on the Economic and Social Development at Regional Level”. The author would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) through the “Scientific Exchange Program between Switzerland and the new EU member states” (Sciex NMS).

Citation

Miron, R. (2014), "The socioeconomic impacts of local energy programmes: a case study of Avrig, Romania", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 352-360. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEQ-01-2014-0007

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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