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Unlocking local value-added opportunities in the energy transition in former coal regions – the case of Lusatia (Lausitz)

This article presents the endogenous development potential of Lusatia in the field of the energy transition economy and the associated regional economic effects. To this end, the authors of the DecarbLau project analyzed the existing structures and competencies of the energy transition economy in the region. The expansion potential in the various areas of the energy transition (electricity, heat, sector coupling and efficiency) and the associated value creation and employment potential were calculated for various scenarios of future development based on the objectives of the Saxon and Brandenburg state governments.

The most important result of the study is that Lusatia, as an energy transition and structural change region, still has a high expansion potential for photovoltaic and wind energy plants. In 2040, electricity production from wind turbines could reach four times the current level. In the case of photovoltaic systems, around seven to eight times the current level is possible. Only in the biomass sector has the potential for expansion already been largely exhausted. There is also potential for more ambitious realization in the area of energy-efficient building renovation. An annual increase in the renovation rate of 3.3 percent would reduce the energy required for heating by 60 percent and have a corresponding effect on local trades.

In an ambitious and participation-orientated climate neutrality scenario, around 450 million euros in regional added value could be generated and around 3,560 full-time jobs created in 2040. To achieve this, citizens and municipalities would first have to be given more opportunities for financial participation through appropriate framework conditions at federal and state level. The authors see the resulting financial benefits for the population and municipalities as a critical success factor in order to provide the necessary space, initiate investments, and ultimately contribute to local acceptance.

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