When it comes to the future of energy, it’s clearly time for transformation. As a recent New York Times analysis concludes, “Climate scientists, oil executives, progressives and conservatives all agree on one thing these days: The energy transition is upon us.” To be sure, various stakeholders view the particulars very differently; it’s evident, however, that the country’s energy future will look different than its past.
Advancements in technology have led to significant progress in the fight against climate change. From solar panels that generate electricity to electric cars with zero emissions, technology plays a crucial role in reducing our carbon output and finding sustainable solutions for our energy needs.
These tech solutions are ever-evolving and always improving, and many people are looking ahead to the wave of innovation. With that in mind, here are the top five climate tech advancements to expect in 2023.
5 Climate Tech Predictions for 2023
- More geothermal heating and cooling.
- A renewable energy revolution.
- Electric vehicles are getting better (and cheaper)
- Energy storage will double.
- Abundant clean energy is closer than ever.
1. More Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Like solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling solutions were once a luxury item available only to wealthy homeowners. Today, the technology is affordable and readily available for new construction or home renovation projects. When coupled with the additional financial incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which provides a 30 percent credit for geothermal heat pump projects installed before January 1, 2023, the barrier to entry is lower than ever.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems rely on an electric heat pump to distribute ground-sourced air that maintains a consistent temperature year-round. This technology is cheaper than burning natural gas or heating oil, and its increased efficiency — as much as 60 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy — makes geothermal a climate tech solution worth watching this year.
2. A Renewable Energy Revolution
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is the most significant investment in climate tech in history, offering meaningful financial provisions for a variety of climate change solutions.
Specifically, the law allocates $60 billion for clean energy manufacturing, including domestic production of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and other essential minerals. It’s a concerted and dramatic effort to build more and more renewable products in the U.S. These incentives will help finance a revolution in renewable energy adoption and far greater uptake of existing technologies in communities and homes.
3. Electric Vehicles Are Getting Better (and Cheaper)
Auto sales fell by eight percent in 2022, reflecting the impact of constricted supply, higher costs, and rising interest rates. Meanwhile, electric vehicle (EV) sales are surging.
Nearly 8 million EVs were sold in 2022, a 68 percent year-over-year increase. In total, EV sales accounted for 10 percent of all new cars sold last year. Despite increased consumer interest, many models are unaffordable for most buyers, and the elusive mass-market model with a 300-mile range remains out of reach.
Consumer preferences are changing even as models are becoming more affordable, however. Consumer-focused models like the Chevy Bolt offer a more compelling price point that will help drive down costs across brands.
Like solar and geothermal technologies, EVs received significant financial support from lawmakers in 2022, which should further drive demand and prompt car companies to develop even more affordable models to meet the law’s cost requirements.
Continued EV adoption alone won’t solve the climate crisis, but it's an important next step in a carbon-free future. 2023 looks like it could be a boon for adoption as cars continue to get better and cheaper.
4. Energy Storage Will Double
Bigger, better battery storage is essential to capturing the electricity generated by sporadic energy creators like wind and solar. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that planned battery storage will nearly double in 2023, with additional enhancements by 2025.
In total, American energy storage capacity is expected to reach 30 gigawatts, growing faster than solar capacity in its nascent days. Consequently, the country’s renewable energy efforts have space to scale, and the technology is becoming more advanced, attracting investor interest and utility adoption, which will spark more development and deployment in the years ahead.
5. Abundant Clean Energy Is Closer Than Ever
Last year, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved a genuine scientific breakthrough, producing the first controlled nuclear fusion reaction that created more energy than required to start the reaction.
Their achievement renewed hopes that fusion energy could provide endless amounts of clean energy to power an electrified future. The Biden Administration has announced a goal of commercializing fusion energy by 2032, and while goals are not guarantees, it’s a reminder that climate tech is transforming our approaches to climate change, energy independence, and sustainability in real time.
The Greentech Future Starts Now
2023 holds a lot of promise for advancements in climate tech. From transparent solar panels that can generate electricity from windows to geothermal heating and cooling systems that lower costs and minimize climate impact to the continued growth of electric vehicles and advancements in energy storage, the future of energy looks bright.
These technologies not only have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint and help combat climate change but also provide cost-effective solutions for homeowners and businesses. As we move forward, it’s crucial that we continue to invest in and support these technologies to ensure a sustainable energy future for all.