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The future will be powered by an energy system that has moved beyond fossil fuels, to renewables such as wind and solar. This means more than simply moving beyond coal. Europe must avoid falling into a new addiction to other polluting energy sources.

Nicholas Doherty Ponbhdyofom Unsplash

Key challenges

  • The fastest and most effective way to cut European emissions and improve air quality is to move beyond coal. More and more countries in Europe have committed to closing their last coal-fired power station before 2030, but some key countries are holding out for a later end date, or failing to discuss coal phase-out at all.
  • Given the risks from the leakage of methane, which has a very high global warming potential, further investment in gas infrastructure is in conflict with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Shifting to biomass would be another false solution, as in practice most industrial-scale bioenergy has comparable emissions to fossil energy when measured across the short window of time in which we must act on climate change.
  • Low-carbon sources of bioenergy, such as wastes and residues, are in no way available at the scale needed to deliver the massive energy requirements of sectors such as power generation and home heating.
  • The European Union has ambitious targets for the rollout of clean energy. However, barriers and bottlenecks are blocking progress, and deployment rates need to rise significantly to quickly deliver on the potential for clean and secure energy.


The case for genuine zero-carbon renewables, such as wind and solar, is strong. Costs are falling rapidly and the Russian war in Ukraine has exposed the vulnerabilities of Europe’s fossil fuel energy system.

Despite this, while renewable capacity is still rising overall, the rate of increase has slowed to below the pace needed for the EU to remain on track for its goals under the Paris Agreement. It is therefore essential to mobilise our tools and grantees to facilitate the deployment of renewable energy at scale and to push for clean alternatives to gas.

We aim to work with civil society, industry and policymakers to remove the bottlenecks to renewable energy deployment, either because of planning restrictions, insufficient access to affordable finance or poorly designed energy markets. By 2050, our investments should have helped enable the transition to an energy system that is efficient, smart, flexible and dominated by renewables.

How we work

Our Energy, Clean Power and Gas Infrastructure programmes fund work to accelerate the transition from a fossil-fuelled energy system to one powered by safe, clean renewables like wind and solar.

We support organisations that deliver targeted expertise, research and analysis and support civil society partners in key countries to advocate for improved policies and to collaborate with corporate coalitions. We also seek to engage European citizens in the energy transition by promoting the production of renewable energy at home via rooftop solar and renewable energy communities.


Keith Allott

Executive Director Energy, Germany & France Programmes

Molly Walsh

Director, Clean Power Programme

Stijn Carton

Director, Gas Infrastructures & Policies Programme

Anton Lazarus

Strategic Communications Lead, Energy

Katarzyna Harpak

Manager, Clean Power Programme

Lena Möller

Associate, Gas Infrastructures & Policies Programme

Melina Monjour

Associate, Energy Systems Programme

Mélissa Zill

Senior Associate, International Energy Programme

Blanca Sánchez

Strategic Communications Associate, Energy