Clean energy capacity continued to grow worldwide in 2023, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency laid out.
The encouraging report showed that world governments are continuing to expand their solar, wind, and electric battery operations in hopes of eventually moving away from dirty-energy sources such as coal, oil, and gas, as detailed by the Los Angeles Times.
Though the various clean-energy industries faced some challenges in 2023 — including high interest rates, inflation, and high cost of building materials — it was still a record year for growth.
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Solar energy led the charge, according to IRENA’s report, as China, Europe, and the United States installed more solar arrays in 2023 than in any year previously. This was helped along by the fact that, for a majority of countries, solar is now the cheapest form of electricity, in addition to being clean and renewable.
In the U.S., much of the solar capacity added was thanks to incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act.
“We have seen the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act in terms of fueling investments. … More than 60 solar manufacturing facilities were announced over the past year,” Abigail Ross Hopper, the president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, told the Times.
Wind faced more challenges over the past year than solar did, as high costs forced some developers to cancel or delay projects. However, the future is still bright for wind energy projects — particularly offshore wind. The U.S. has multiple such projects in development.
“We’re talking about 2023 essentially as a lower performance year [in terms of wind], but in the grand scheme of things, 8 to 9 gigawatts is still a number to get excited about. It’s a lot of new clean energy that’s being added to the grid,” The American Clean Power Association vice president for research and analytics John Hensley said.
Battery production also grew in 2023, pointing to good things for the electric vehicle industry.
“The battery cost is now on that trajectory that most Americans will be able to afford an EV,” Paul Braun, a University of Illinois professor of materials science and engineering, told the Times.
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