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Investments in this energy source are skyrocketing in 2023 — here's why there's a new 'energy superpower'

"A true energy superpower."

International Energy Agency

Photo Credit: iStock

In a major win for clean energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its "World Energy Investment 2023" report in May, with optimistic predictions for the future. 

In this report, the organization compared the expected investment in affordable and non-polluting energy this year with investments in traditional, polluting sources. 

It found that investment in "clean technologies" is on the rise and is projected to be 1.7 times as large as investment in dirty energy sources.

What did the IEA investigate?

The IEA report looked at differences in investments between the two groups. Oil, gas, and coal — or high-polluting energy sources — made up its dirty energy category.

The IEA also researched wind, water, and solar power, as well as nuclear energy and "low-emission fuels," in its clean energy category. The clean technologies category also includes equipment and infrastructure, which makes it more practical to switch to clean energy sources. 

Using these categories, the IEA reported a projected $1.7 trillion investment in clean technologies this year, up 24% from 2021, and only a $1 trillion investment in dirty fuels, or 15% more than in 2021.

Why does it matter what type of energy the world invests in?

Dirty fuels are the number one reason the world is getting hotter, ClientEarth reported, accounting for 89% of harmful carbon pollution in 2018. The rising temperature has devastating effects on humanity and the world

Adopting alternatives to dirty fuels is our only hope of cooling the world down, and investing money in clean technologies helps move the world in that direction.

What's causing the change?

The unstable price of dirty energy sources has pushed many countries toward clean technologies, Electrek reported. Policy changes in Europe, China, and the U.S. have driven individuals and companies toward these affordable and eco-friendly options.

Electrek said that solar energy, in particular, has overtaken coal investments this year. Dave Jones of the clean energy think tank Ember said in a statement, "This crowns solar as a true energy superpower."

However, Electrek also reported that the change to clean technologies may not be quick enough to protect humanity from the harm that dirty fuels are doing to the planet, and we need to speed it up.

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