Economic study of opportunities and vulnerabilities for rural territories

The first axis of the “2017, year of innovation for rural energy” project aims at developing a methodology for the monitoring and evaluation of impact of territorial energy strategies. In order to enrich this tool, RURENER is now starting a study on three rural territories in the Massif Central (Center of France). The goal is to identify the vulnerabilities and opportunities given by the energy transition on these territories, and to measure the economic, social and environmental impacts of energy transition policies on these territories. The study is divided into two parts:
1. SWOT analysis
2. Indicators

The SWOT analysis highlights how energy issues can match other issues that the territories have to face. Indeed, there are meeting points and rivalries between territories’ directives and local stakeholders and it is important to identify them. The SWOT method is separated in two parts:
Territorial diagnosis: a more general approach to dress an economic, social and environmental profile of the territory
Energy diagnosis: a more focused approach to identify productions and consumptions, but also renewable potentials
Then, the two diagnoses are crossed in order to interlock energy transition and local dynamics. It allows the territories to understand the link between final user needs and local resources.
This analysis is then used to make prospective scenarios by evaluating local potentials such as renewable potentials (solar, wind, hydro…) and by implementing local energy policies and projects integrated to local dynamics. This part of the scenario is all about planning what will be developed and when, while identifying local stakeholders. Then, we provide help for territories to understand and identify the financial levers that are available to support their projects.

Regarding the indicators, four have been identified:
2 economic indicators
• Job growth due to energy transition: Energy transition is a great employment vector in many fields: refurbishment, renewables, monitoring, maintenance… The tool to complete this indicator makes scenarios of job creation over a 2050 projection. It includes direct and indirect jobs and deducts the destroyed jobs. This tool is only available in France at the moment and is based on national studies that are used to build projections.
Energy bill: the objective is to evaluate financial flows for consumed, imported and produced energy on the territory, the highest the energy bill is, the more vulnerable the territory remains

1 social indicator
Perception survey of local energy transition policies: the goal is to measure citizens’ perception and level of awareness of local energy policies. It is fundamental to involve citizens in the energy transition and this indicator will evaluate the level of involvement of citizens and thus give information on how to best engage the dialogue for an inclusive sustainable local development and reinforce social cohesion.

1 environmental indicator
Avoided GHG emissions: any action being part of an energy transition approach contributes to lowering the level of emissions in our atmosphere by being cleaner and greener. Avoided emissions are the difference of GHG emissions between a renewable and a fossil source of energy for the same final use.

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