Regional economic benefits of energy transition are often overlooked

On 31 May, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a hearing on the Energy Transition in Europe's Regions to shine a spotlight on the regional economic benefits of the shift to decentralised and low-carbon energy supplies, a topic which has remained largely unexplored despite the fact that the transition has a distinctly regional dimension.

The shift to clean and renewable energies can prove to be particularly beneficial to less prosperous regions, thereby reducing inequalities between Europe's different areas and securing improved social and regional cohesion across the EU. Locally produced civic energy was also shown to reduce energy poverty.

This was demonstrated by two successful examples presented at the hearing. The first was the project implemented in the German town of Treuenbrietzen that has reached its goal of securing a clean and independent decentralised energy supply for the community, which had not been well-off in the past.

The other successful energy transition project was carried out by the municipality of Turosn Koscielna in Eastern Poland, one of the poorest EU regions. It led to a radical annual decrease in CO2 emissions and to savings amounting to EUR 95 000 per year.

The results of the hearing will feed into the EESC opinion on "The effects of a new carbon-free, decentralised and digitalised energy supply structure on jobs and regional economies". The opinion will be presented at the EESC's July session in the presence of European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. (ll)