People living in the more remote parts of Europe rarely have access to the natural gas grid and the electricity supply can be unreliable and hugely inefficient. As a consequence they often have to rely on relatively high carbon solid and liquid fuels which are being used with aging technologies. The Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE) initiative gives a voice to all those who believe that rural energy needs are important issues both for those who live in the countryside and for European society as a whole. We want to make sure that policy makers acknowledge that the following is true and plan accordingly.

The FREE initiative is launched and funded by SHV Energy, a family-owned multinational organisation that consists of a group of specialised energy companies. These companies provide people and businesses with decentralised personalised energy solutions and services. Its customers often live or work in areas beyond the natural gas grid. FREE was created in 2010 and is meanwhile supported by a wide variety of groups and individuals committed to realising the potential of rural communities through greater energy choice.


Euromontana is the European multisectoral association for co-operation and development of mountain territories. It embraces regional and national mountain organisations throughout greater Europe, including regional development agencies, local authorities, agriculture organisations, environmental agencies, forestry organisations and research institutes.

Euromontana’s mission is to promote living mountains, integrated and sustainable development and quality of life in mountain areas.

In order to achieve this, Euromontana facilitates the exchange of information and experience among these areas by organising seminars and major conferences, by conducting and collaborating in studies, by developing, managing and participating in European projects and by working with the European institutions on mountain issues.


International association set up in 1980, Rurality-Environment-Development (R.E.D.) develops, through its network of members and partners in Europe, continuous exchanges on the rural policies and their implementation, with the double finality of a better ground efficiency and of a reinforced dialogue with the European institutions.

R.E.D. animates a European rural development network and promotes a participatory approach of development integrating, in a specified area, the economic, social, cultural and environmental concepts into a territorial project.
R.E.D. coordinates European platforms like the European Countryside Movement and gives support to members activities at international level.
R.E.D. animates the website, and publishes the newsletter Eurobrèves and thematic dossiers.