The global transition to sustainable energy requires a major shift in the way we consume and produce energy.
To effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energy sources such as sun, wind and hydro must be harnessed through photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric and geothermal power plants.
This electricity must then be efficiently stored, transmitted and distributed.
Renewable electricity should be directly used for homes, transportation, and parts of the industry, whereas the use of renewable fuels like liquid, gaseous and solid fuels should be avoided wherever possible due to large energy losses and limited feedstock.
- Carbon intensive energy needs to be replaced with the direct use of renewable electricity sources wherever possible.
- Renewable solid, liquid and gaseous fuels, such as hydrogen or biofuels, should only be used in sectors where direct electrification is not possible.
- The efficient dispatch and use of renewable electricity is key to reducing emissions as quickly as possible.
Carbon-intensive energy sources are the primary contributor to climate change, accounting for around 90% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonising energy consumption is therefore a critical step in mitigating the effects of climate change. This transition requires a fundamental shift in how societies use energy, which will involve maximising the use of renewable energy sources such as sun, wind, hydro and geothermal power.
Efficient dispatch and use of renewable electricity are key to reducing emissions as quickly as possible. The increased use of electric vehicles and building electrification, combined with renewable energy generation, can help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. In some industry sectors where direct electrification is not feasible, renewable fuels such as hydrogen can help reduce emissions. However, these should be used only where direct electrification is not an option, as direct use of renewable electricity is always more efficient and therefore preferable. Such renewable fuels should also come from additional renewable sources that do not hinder the decarbonisation of the power sector.
Related focus areas
Hydrogen standards: a global race to the top?
December 9, 2023
13;30 - 14:30 (UTC+04:00)
Bellona Foundation Pavillion, Zone B7/88, Blue Zone, COP28
The power of public opinion: can narratives power the energy transition?
December 9, 2023
17:00 - 18:00 (UTC + 04:00)
Bellona Foundation Pavilion, Zone B7/88, Blue Zone, COP28
Publications related to focus areaAll publications
Policy Brief: Bellona’s position on the upcoming Grids Action Plan
Empowering Europe’s Green Future: A Grid Action Plan In our journey towards climate neutrality, the widespread adoption of renewable energy ...
Consultation response: TYNDP 2024 Scenarios Input Parameters
. The TYNDP 2024 Scenarios Storyline Report, recently released by ENTSO-E and ENTSOG offers valuable insights into the energy transition strategies for the coming decade. In this article, we’ll delve into the report’s main strengths, shortcomings, and implications.
Consultation Response: Review report on the Governance Regulation – Energy Union and Climate Action
Bellona Europa welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to The Governance Regulation and planning of energy and climate policies to achieve the Energy Union objectives for 2030.
Hydrogen DRI for Steel in a Resource-Constrained Europe: How Much Renewable Electricity is Needed to Decarbonise the Sector with Green Hydrogen
The European Union (EU) is the world’s second largest steel producer after China, with an annual production capacity of about 150 million metric tons in 2021 and home to over 500 steel production sites in 22 member states1. The sector is a vital component of the EU’s economy, directly providing jobs for around 310.000 people and many more in downstream sectors of the steel value chain, such as construction or the automotive industry. It contributes some €125 billion to the EU’s GDP annually1. Importantly, steel is an indispensable material for various parts of the energy transition, such as wind turbines, solar power plants, electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure and energy storage systems.
Methodology for Assessing Hydrogen and Electrolyser Candidate PCI/PMI Projects 2022-2023 Exercise
Bellona welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the methodology for assessing hydrogen and electrolyser candidate PCI/PMI projects within the TEN-E framework. Building on our previous contributions to this process on hydrogen infrastructure needs and the 1st Union List of Candidate Projects, we commend the Commission’s recognition of the role of hydrogen as a decarbonisation tool for hard-to-abate sectors where alternative decarbonisation pathways may not be feasible or economic and aspiration to assess candidate projects for a trans-European hydrogen infrastructure and electrolysers against that background.
Consultation Terms & Conditions Hydrogen Bank
The European Commission reserves funds from the Innovation Fund for the Hydrogen Bank to boost H2 production in Europe. In a request for feedback from the Commission, we echoed our initial consultation response, stressing the importance of introducing guarantees for public support of hydrogen production under two strict conditions.
Improving the Electricity Market Design for a Decarbonised and Sustainable Energy System
Bellona supports the reform of the European electricity market design but urges lawmakers to strengthen certain provisions. This will ensure a fair, efficient, and decarbonised energy system that maximises the opportunities presented by the energy transition.
1st Union List of Candidate Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) for Hydrogen Infrastructure and Electrolysers
Bellona welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the selection of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) for hydrogen infrastructure and electrolysers within the TEN-E framework.
Identification of Hydrogen infrastructure needs for the TEN-E priority corridors
Thorough consideration of potential environmental impacts is essential to ensure that the deployment of electricity grid and hydrogen infrastructure does in fact achieve the highest emission reductions possible without delaying climate action and hampering nature conservation.
Consultation Response: Identification of system needs for the TEN-E priority electricity and offshore grid corridors
Overall, criteria appear suitable to identify the needs for infrastructure for the development of interconnectors to strengthen the European electricity grid. However, Bellona considers it crucial to not consider hydrogen-based solutions as an alternative for the development of the electricity grid.
Competitive Bidding schemes for hydrogen under the Innovation Fund
Hydrogen provides credible climate solutions by decarbonising high-emitting sectors where direct electrification is not possible. Targeted use of hydrogen, by reviewing alternatives on a case-by-case basis, results in an efficient EU energy system. There is a need to look beyond the hydrogen hype to realise more efficient forms of resource use. This means deploying direct electrification wherever possible.
UK Offshore Wind
The deployment of offshore wind in the UK has so far been a major policy success. This briefing examines the role of government policy in the growth of UK offshore wind to date and the challenges facing the sector out to 2030 as it seeks to achieve unprecedented further growth.
Consultation Response – H2 Global – Market Consultation: Products, Quantities, Criteria
Ramping up global renewable hydrogen production to secure imports for Germany Bellona welcomes the ongoing efforts by countries to decarbonise and displace unabated fossil fuel use through new technologies, energy systems and carriers. Hydrogen undoubtedly has a key role to play in these efforts. As an energy vector, rather than a source, however, renewable hydrogen is reliant on immense amounts of renewable electricity to approximate the supply needed for a successful and rapid transformation. Bellona, therefore, firmly believes that in the medium-term, hydrogen applications should be as limited as possible, to those that cannot be directly electrified or have no other means for climate mitigation.
Consultation Response – REPowerEU chapters in the Recovery and Resilience Plans
Together with other decarbonisation strategies, REPowerEU chapters in policies such as the Recovery and Resilience plans should be designed to kickstart additional renewable energy deployment and focus on energy efficiency to create a more resilient and clean energy system. Boosting energy efficiency, and supporting key cross-border infrastructure and renewable generation needs to be prioritised instead of investments in fossil gas and circumventing basic sustainability criteria.
Consultation Response – Renewable energy projects: permit-granting processes & power-purchase agreements
Bellona supports the enhanced ambition of the Commission for speeding up permitting granting for renewables in the EU. However, the full potential of this strategy can be achieved by supporting Member States with the ensuring enough staff is available to ensure the permitting process is dealt within deadlines without compromising the quality of environmental impact assessments, and creating a systematic support for offshore wind such as the one foreseen for rooftop PV.
Effective use of Renewables to Reduce Emissions
Large scale green hydrogen relying on renewable electricity will likely become a major feature of the UK energy system during the 2030s. However, at present fossil fuelled generation remains an important component of the European power system, and while this remains the case there are some difficult trade-offs to consider.
Consultation Response – Rules for RFNBO and RCF production
Bellona Europa welcomes the ongoing efforts by the European Commission, and the invitation to provide views, feedback and recommendations on the published draft proposal to the Delegated act on the method for assessing greenhouse gas emission savings for recycled carbon fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin. We welcome the intention of the Commission to assess all fuels according to their full impacts across their entire lifecycle.
EU can stop Russian gas imports by 2025
This briefing identifies the indispensable role clean energy solutions play in rapidly ending the EU’s reliance on fossil gas imports from Russia.
We have defined 121 solutions that our experts believe will be important to cut emissions, and reaching the 2050-targets of the Paris Agreement. These solutions are divided into seven categories, and all of them depend on five fundamental requirements that have to be in place to cut emissions all over the world.
Will Hydrogen Cannibalise the Energiewende?
Impact Assessment of REDII Delegated Act on Electrolytic Hydrogen CO2 Intensity: A clear call for additional renewables
REDII Revision Position Paper
The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) will be the legislative cornerstone for emission reductions in many sectors. By setting a clear legislative guidepost, the RED can significantly contribute to climate change mitigation. Setting up the right framework for such Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and deployment can prevent adverse effects, such as excessive biomass consumption, the continued use of fossil electricity sources or false accounting.
Electrolysis Hydrogen Production In Europe
This is the first briefing to introduce the CO2 intensity of hydrogen calculation methodology into the debate. In the absence of other clear guidelines for projects for hydrogen and their compatibility with the net-zero future, this is the first go-to guide.
Is Hydrogen in Home Heating Hot Air?
In this briefing, we delve into what will heat our buildings and what role the different energy carriers have to play in keeping our homes warm 30 years from now.
Feedback on the delegated acts of REDII
The revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), adopted in 2018, establishes a common framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources in various sectors. In order to ensure these fuels are indeed contributing to the climate goals of the EU, the GHG methodology for RFNBOs and RCFs used in the transport sector should give clear definitions and guidance for calculations in order to avoid misinterpretation and to ensure that all the relevant climate impacts of the fuels are counted.
Policy Brief: Recycled Carbon Fuels in the Renewable Energy Directive
Brussels, 16th June – Ahead of the stakeholder meeting on the Renewable Energy Directive on 18th-19th June, Bellona Europa, Zero Waste Europe...
Consultation Response – EU Hydrogen Strategy – June 2020
The EU Hydrogen strategy will explore how clean hydrogen can help reduce the EU economy’s carbon emissions in a cost-effective way. It is in line with...
Consultation Response – Smart Sector Integration – June 2020
To ensure that smart sector integration actions actually contribute to emission reductions, Bellona Europa recommends the use of four screening criteria and their respective metrics for the initial climate evaluation of Smart Sector Integration actions.
Consultation Response – European Climate Law – achieving climate neutrality by 2050 – May 2020
In our consultation response We find it necessary to remind the European Commission that while NETPs will have a role to play in the plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, it cannot be perceived as a silver bullet.
Consultation Response – Sustainable aviation fuels – April 2020
Bellona Europa supports the introduction of a mandate for specific sustainable advanced fuels in the aviation sector only if the fuels in question have proven to provide a substantial greenhouse gas reduction.
Consultation Response – Climate Law Roadmap – April 2020
The proposed “Climate Law”, if done right, has the potential to deliver on the European promise to become a “Global Leader” on tackling climate change. For this to occur, the Law needs to ensure that all EU policies actively contribute to and are in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement.
Consultation Response – 2030 Climate Target Plan – April 2020
Bellona Europa submitted its response to the European Commission’s Inception Impact Assessment for the 2030 Climate Target Plan with five main reccomandations.
Understanding our Future
Climate change is happening. Human activity has caused and continues to contribute to towards it; the current and projected severity of its impacts ha...
Bellona Europa Reality Check: The ‘Power to Liquids’ Trap
With its Clean Energy Package, the EU is on the verge of repeating costly energy and climate policy failures of the recent past. Attempting to provide a low-carbon transport fuel replacement alternative to conventional biofuels, the European Commission in its revision of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) proposes a 2030 target for ‘low-emission and renewable fuels’. The proposed target includes so-called ‘’renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin’’. This opens the door for massive public subsidies for synthetic fossil fuels, i.e. renewable hydrogen mixed with fossil CO2 from emitting industries covered by the EU ETS.
BellonaBrief: Brexit Implications on Climate, Energy and Environment
On 24 June 2016 the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% in a referendum to leave the European Union. Many resources are now likely to be diverted from running the EU and progressing important policies toward instead managing and negotiating the referendum implications. While many uncertainties and questions remain to be addressed, one thing remains certain: Bellona has championed environmental and climate protection in Europe from outside EU membership for over 20 years and will continue to do so. While domestic implications for the UK remain unclear, NGOs’ voices in Europe will continue to be heard.
Bellona response to the consultation on the preparation of a new renewable energy directive for the period after 2020
The EU has been a central driving force in the broader adoption of renewable energy technologies worldwide. Policy landmarks such as the EU 2050 Roadmap and the initial EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) have helped stake direction and secure cost reductions across technologies such as wind and solar power, benefiting markets also outside the EU. Embarking on the REDII (2020-30), the global context is altered, with COP21 mobilising a joint and increased emphasis on global decarbonisation with particular view to adoption of RES as a key path. In its response to the European Commission's consultation, Bellona provides feedback and recommendations focusing on support scheme design for new RES development; consumer empowerment and in particular the revision of the Guarantees of Origin scheme; increasing the use of renewables in the transport sector and fostering electro-mobility; and last but not least on the benefits of and ways of fostering the uptake of third generation (marine) biofuels.
Where will the energy storage mega trend lead us?
Bellona sees energy storage as a required piece of the decarbonisation puzzle. The technology will rapidly become an integral part of European electricity supply systems. The huge disruptive effect of energy storage to the existing energy market is being driven by two trends: the need for energy storage to optimise the deployment of renewable energy sources on the one hand, and the high return potential for manufactures, operators and home owners, on the other. This report was launched at the high-level event 'Energy storage - the inevitable disruption' Bellona hosted on 7 December 2015, on board the 'Race for Water' solar vessel moored on the Seine during the decisive COP 21 climate conference.
Feedback to the Commission’s proposal for revision of the EU ETS
The IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report makes clear the necessity of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and negative emissions, attained via Bio-CCS, in halting global average temperature rise below 2°C. The Report warns that the exclusion of this technology from the mitigation portfolio would entail abatement costs more than doubling. Moreover, it is clear that the large emissions from energy-intensive industries like steel, cement and chemicals cannot be deeply reduced without CCS. In the light of these facts, the slow deployment of CCS in Europe is reason for great concern. Bellona, therefore, sees the Innovation Fund design as a crucial factor to enable strategic CCS deployment.
Response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on a 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies
The European Commission’s 2030 Green Paper, released on 27 March, invited stakeholders to take part in a consultative process towards the Union’s clim...
Down load the report here. The objective of this report is to show how a regenerative hybrid-electric propulsion system can dramatically improve the e...
The Potential and Barriers for Renewable Energy
An increased implementation of renewable energy productions is slowed down by economic, technical, land use, social and environmental barriers. Especi...
News related to focus areaAll news
Press Release: Tripling renewables and doubling efficiency: a global pledge that must be protected from overly ambitious low-carbon hydrogen goals
In the spotlight of COP28’s energy and industry day, Bellona applauds the ambitious aim to triple renewables by 2030, translating to a substantial 11...
Press Release – At best an emissions calculator, at worst a greenwashing tool for dirty hydrogen: new clean hydrogen standard launched at COP28
The International Organisation for Standardisation presented new clean hydrogen standards at COP28. Whilst this is an encouraging step forward in cal...
Press Release – Grid Action Plan is the first step towards crucial infrastructure planning for European Grids
The European Commission published its Grid Action Plan on the 28th of Tuesday at the PCI Energy days. The grid action plan serves as a constructive s...
Bellona’s agenda for COP28
Bellona’s events Sunday, 3 December 12:00 – 12:45: Bursting Barriers for Solution Stories: How Industry is Growing Support for Clim...
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