Boosted by impressive technological innovation and cost reductions, renewable energy in a growing number of countries is now primarily considered for its social and economic benefits. Among these benefits are opportunities for local value creation, for responding to growing energy demands and for reducing conflicts over scarce water, which are aggravated by fossil power generation. Allowing for distributed electricity generation, the rapidly expanding renewable energy world is opening up business models for many, including local communities, citizens and citizens’ cooperatives. Domestic energy policy can shape the enabling environment to seizing the social benefits of renewable energy.
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