The future of rural energy
In 2010, Calor started a three year £1 million energy advisorship initiative called FREE, aimed at tackling fuel poverty and promoting energy efficiency in off-gas rural communities across Britain. Here you can read about the initiatives going on across Britain
FREE delivers energy efficiency advice to rural communities across England. By facilitating collaboration between local and national stakeholders FREE helps rural householders to understand their energy options, cost savings, new technologies, income maximisation and carbon reduction. FREE encourages the sharing of best practice in raising awareness of the causes of, and solutions to, rural fuel poverty, both within rural communities and organisations, and also at local and national Government levels.
Many housing providers are unable to identify their least energy-efficient homes or what action should be taken to support those communities most at risk of fuel poverty, particularly in rural areas without mains gas. In partnership with Calor, Energy Action Scotland (EAS) developed a Strategic Affordable Warmth Fund aimed at helping rural housing associations map out their stock and draw up an affordable warmth strategy.
Working with National Energy Action Cymru (NEAC), Calor is funding and delivering an energy advisorship initiative in key Welsh communities identified as most at risk of fuel poverty. The FREE Wales initiative comprises: roundtable discussions bringing together key stakeholders; advice pack and web pages specifically developed for rural Welsh households; training sessions for local advice providers working in off-grid areas; and local Energy Efficiency Advice roadshows.
Over 50% of Europe's population live in rural areas covering 90% of its territory. They provide a significant proportion of employment and a major contribution to the economy, yet are disadvantaged when it comes to energy choice. The FREE initiative was launched in Europe by Calor's parent company SHV Energy to raise awareness of the low carbon energy solutions available – which not only fit the needs of rural communities but will also benefit the environment.
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