Myth : Nobody wants to live in rural areas

Rural depopulation is largely a thing of the past. In France, for example, the number of people living in rural areas grew three times more than the urban equivalent. Almost one third of Danes and over 80% of the Dutch dream of living in the country

Join the FREE network

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Since its creation in 2010, the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE) initiative concentrated on raising awareness about the critical situation of European rural areas when it comes to energy provision and energy use. With its network of supporting organisations and regions, FREE aims to alert policymakers – both at EU and national levels – about the series of challenges faced by rural energy users.

These include the low levels of energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings, climate change and air quality issues due to the fuels used and the sometimes acute issues of energy affordability and availability in remote rural regions.

This pan-European platform is aimed at promoting the use of sustainable energy within rural communities through research, energy advice and promotion of lower carbon energy options available to consumers living beyond the natural gas grid. The FREE initiative includes active national chapters in Germany, Ireland, Poland and the UK.

FREE was created and funded by SHV Energy in 2010, and is meanwhile supported by a wide variety of groups and individuals which are committed to realising the potential of rural communities through greater energy choice. It includes technology providers, rural projects, civil society, regional representations, members of the European Parliament, and other rural actors.