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Clean Energy: New Paths for Tomorrow

Climate change, the gas crisis and rising energy prices are making it quite clear: energy is precious. Which is why we need sustainable energy concepts for the future.

11.01.2023 8 min

Combating climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our age. The Paris Climate Accords and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a strategy blueprint. The goal: to keep global warming well below 2 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels. Sustainable energy management is a key instrument to achieving this target.

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The global warming target set by the United Nations is a maximum of

1

.5 C°

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The European Climate Law sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by at least

55

%

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According to the International Energy Agency, investment in green energy by 2030 will amount to

2

tn USD

Boom in Renewable Energies

Renewable energy is gaining ground all over the world – be it hydro-power, wind power, solar power or biomass. In its World Energy Outlook 2022, the International Energy Agency (IEA) writes that the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine could actually accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Why? Because in addition to short-term relief measures, many countries are now looking to green alternatives to meet their long-term energy needs.

Examples of this include the Inflation Reduction Act in the USA, the Fit for 55 package and REPowerEU in the EU as well as the ambitious renewable energy targets set by China and India. According to the IEA, these measures will help to increase global investment in clean energy to over 2 trillion US dollars per year by 2030. This represents an increase of more than 50 percent compared to 2020.

Two people install a photovoltaic system on a roof © mmphoto/Adobe Stock

Solar array on the roof: the fight against climate change means accelerating the use of renewable energies.

Hydrogen for Energy Transport

However, accelerating the use of renewables like wind power or solar energy that are dependent on weather conditions creates new challenges for the energy infrastructure. Hydrogen is potentially a key technology for dealing with the fluctuations in production this involves. So-called green hydrogen can store electricity from renewable sources and can transport it over long distances. Its uses range from (chemical) processes in industry to fuel in heavy goods transport.

The EU Commission wants to ramp up production of green hydrogen in Europe – by 20 megatons per year until 2030. Yet the fact is, as long as there is no centralized infrastructure, hydrogen production will have to take place decentrally, in proximity to the consumer. A pan-European infrastructure is therefore required which can be provided on the one hand by converting existing gas infrastructure and on the other by building a dedicated hydrogen transport infrastructure.

Example: Flexible Pipe Solutions from Pipelife

rolled up tubes
Pipe systems from SoluForce: the transport of renewable energies is becoming increasingly important.
© Erik Poffers

Pipelife is tackling the effects of climate change head on and breaking new ground with innovative pipe systems. The Wienerberger subsidiary offers SoluForce flexible composite pipe systems for high-pressure applications to transport hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be fed into low-pressure lines such as low-pressure polyethylene pipes and then distributed to end users. Read more here:

Greater Energy Efficiency Required

Energy efficiency also helps the climate. According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022global energy efficiency has already improved from 5.6 megajoules per US dollar in 2010 to 4.7 in 2019, with an average annual improvement rate of 1.9 percent. However, to meet the energy efficiency target defined in the SDGs, energy intensity improvements up to 2030 will need to average 3.2 percent per year.

This requires decisive action in all sectors and industry is no exception. According to data from the European Parliament, more than 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU are attributable to industrial processes and product use. Measures to increase efficiency in production and transport could therefore drastically reduce emissions.

Example: Energy Efficiency at Wienerberger

Kilns operated with green electricity
Kiln powered by green electricity: Wienerberger relies on energy efficiency and clean energy to power production and transport.
© Wienerberger

Decarbonization, circular economy and biodiversity: Wienerberger has defined a clear strategy in its Sustainability Program 2023. The goal is to cut carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2023 compared to 2020. To this end, the company drives technical innovations in production and implements ongoing measures to improve efficiency. Read more here:

The Building Sector as a Key Lever

The biggest lever for energy management is the building sector. From apartments, to offices, schools and hospitals: according to figures published by the European Commission, buildings in the EU are collectively responsible for 40 percent of energy consumption and 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly stemming from construction, usage, renovation and demolition. The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050. Increasing energy efficiency in buildings is crucial to achieving this goal.

Renovating the existing building stock could reduce total energy consumption in the EU by up to 6 percent and lower carbon emissions by approximately 5 percent. In addition, smart solutions and energy-efficient materials are needed when constructing new buildings. Europe is on the right track: diverse EU programs are already facilitating the transformation to a net-zero emissions building stock. Moreover, increasing numbers of residents want to actively save energy and protect the climate.

Example: On the Way to the Zero-Emission Buildings

small playhouse in the grass
Sustainable living: a model house in a meadow symbolizes new living concepts for the energy future.
© drubig-photo/Adobe Stock

Wienerberger offers system solutions for new build and renovation. The aim is to promote net-zero emission buildings as a way of driving decarbonization in housing construction. The wide range of measures includes sustainable products for the building envelope as well as in-house power generation, energy-saving heating and cooling solutions, solar panels and heat pumps. Read more in the article:

Conclusion: Clean energy is already available or well on the way to being ready for the market. The task now is to take pioneering measures to create the necessary infrastructure and to bring energy efficient technologies to the ground. Only then will we succeed in creating a climate-friendly energy future for future generations.

Learn more about Wienerberger

Meadow, Trees, Green, Girl, water © Robert Staudinger

How we Live ESG at Wienerberger

Cut emissions, recycle products, help others: Wienerberger has ambitious environmental, social, and corporate governance goals.
small playhouse in the grass © drubig-photo/Adobe Stock

Climate-Neutral Living with Clean Energy

Buildings account for 40 percent of energy consumption in the EU. Wienerberger is delivering sustainable housing solutions – with green energy and innovative brick solutions.
production hall © Wienerberger

Production and Transport: Committed to the Energy Revolution

Industrial processes offer huge potential for decarbonization: how Wienerberger is driving energy efficiency in production and transport.