Myth : Rural areas have a low carbon footprint

Rural communities often have higher carbon footprints than their urban counterparts as well as significant quality of air issues. This is due to a number of factors: the need to drive longer distances, a lack of energy choice leading to the use of polluting fuels (coal, heating oil, wood), and the agricultural output of greenhouse gases


2016 FREE report on ‘Why Rural Energy Matters’

The study, developed by Ecuity Economics and published the FREE initiative, estimates that the potential for rural-remote emissions savings in the EU heating and cooling sector could be as much as 100 Mt (million tonnes) of CO2 by 2030 compared to business as usual scenario. This report reveals the importance of these often overlooked areas in working toward Europe’s climate goals.



White paper

The ‘White Paper’ outlines current policy challenges related to the development of clean energy in rural regions and presents a set of policy recommendations with regards to energy efficiency, air quality, fuel poverty and CO2 emissions in rural areas.



Rural Energy In Europe

A sustainable energy future for the European Union is important for all its citizens. Some areas within Europe are still deprived of access to a secure supply of clean and affordable energy. Gas and electricity networks are less well developed in rural areas and so the choice of fuels is more limited. Yet, there is a target to be reached – reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 20% by 2020 - and these rural areas have a significant role to play in reaching this.

The report presents demand patterns for energy used by consumers in rural, intermediate, and urban areas. We also provide an insight into the way lower economic activity in rural areas plays a role in energy demand patterns. The study shows how differences in the fuels used in certain areas can lead to varying greenhouse gas emission levels. Differences in the fuel mix will also have an economic effect because of different fuel prices, although detailed consideration of this effect was outside the scope of this study.

Case Studies

Here you can see examples of the future of rural energy in action. This section will be updated regularly, so please subscribe to our RSS feed if you would like to be kept up to date.

Public Documents