Cleantech as a key enabler of sustainable development: Regional economic and environmental effects of energy transitions

S. Jenniches

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


In most OECD countries, regional authorities play major roles in the development of renewable energies. Regional impact assessments in this context are tools that can be used to evaluate the effects of renewable energy developments on regional economies and provide decision support instruments for stakeholders in the field, such as politicians, administrations, and enterprises. In addition to purely economic effects, the development of renewable energies and the substitution of conventional energy carriers lead to further macroeconomic benefits such as avoided greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced public health because of reductions in air pollution. The assessment of electricity generation prices for PV, wind power and lignite, including the external costs of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the German district of Aachen, reveals that wind power is the most cost-effective electricity generation technology, followed by PV and then lignite. The analysis of the regional energy transition in the Aachen region further demonstrates that informal institutions such as societal interests in technological advances and environmental concerns can successfully foster the dispersion of sustainable energy generation technologies, in spite of an energy regime based on fossil fuels. The outcomes of the thesis lead to a number of policy implications. First, as the benefits of investing in renewable energies are demonstrated, a sensible regional energy policy should consider a balanced energy mix based on the environmental, economic, and socioeconomic impacts of the individual energy generation technologies. Furthermore, policies should ideally address specific regional aspects in terms of formal and informal institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Worrell, Ernst, Primary supervisor
  • Fumagalli, Elena, Co-supervisor
Award date13 Nov 2020
Print ISBNs978-94-6416-193-9
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020


  • regional economic impact
  • economic impact assessment
  • economy and renewable energy
  • environmental impact of renewable energy
  • supply chain analysis
  • regional energy transition
  • multi-level perspective
  • sustainable development
  • wind power
  • solar PV


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