Examining the Renewable Energy Investments in Hungarian Rural Settlements: The Gained Local Benefits and the Aspects of Local Community Involvement

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Abstract

The results of the paper are based on a research project which examines the renewable energy investments carried out in Hungarian rural settlements. The study will focus on the municipality-led renewable energy developments, determining the most important local benefits and the aspects of the local community involvement. Altogether 748 rural settlements have been identified, which have implemented at least one renewable energy project through the Environmental and Energy Operative Program between 2007 and 2013. A questionnaire has been sent out to these municipalities, and 159 full answers have been collected and analysed. We have investigated the importance and presence of local benefits deriving from renewable energy investments, and examined what effort is put into the information and involvement of the local community. The study concludes that although several local benefits occur at local level while implementing renewable energy projects, the effect of direct benefits remain at a low level. Furthermore, it can also be stated, that only moderate effort is put into the issue of local community involvement. The study also determines several major threats that can endanger the successfulness of the previous investments, and prevent the further renewable energy developments at local level.

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