2022 has been a challenging year in the energy sector. In the U.S., this has underlined the importance of improving both grid resiliency and cross-state energy transmission. Elsewhere, war in Ukraine has focused minds on how best to bring power generation within national borders and reduce reliance on other countries. On top of this are governmental and organizational net-zero targets reframing the energy sector. Renewables have emerged as one of the primary solutions to these challenges.

“Even with no increase in policy support from the current levels, and even without strong carbon prices or net-zero targets, […] some 56% of power generation could be provided by solar and wind by 2050,” according to the BNEF’s New Energy Outlook 2020. While in 2022, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that “though costs for new solar PV and wind installations have increased, reversing a decade-long cost reduction trend, natural gas, oil and coal prices have risen much faster.”

Renewably produced electricity is becoming ever more competitive. It is already, in many cases, both more cost efficient and environmentally sound for businesses to start adding renewables into their power mix – if they haven’t done so already.

Organizations across the U.S. are setting public emissions reduction targets in line with ESG goals and stakeholder engagement from environmentally minded investors. What are the trends and developments we are likely to see in renewables in 2023?

From an increased role for AI in driving renewables deployment, to the continued growth of the market for electric vehicles (EVs) and the expansion and bundling of Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) options bringing increased resiliency, efficiency and adaptability; as well as incremental technological advances: there are a plethora of options for renewables to be adopted in the short, medium and long term.

1. Broader use of Artificial Intelligence

One of the most interesting trends in the energy sector is the role of artificial intelligence (AI). Despite the hype, however, AI is currently underutilized in across the sector. It is mostly deployed for predictive asset maintenance in pilot projects, according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), and while this is clearly beneficial, there is more that can be done.

Various deployments of AI could help accelerate the global energy transition, such as “optimizing and efficiently integrating variable renewable energy resources into the power grid, to supporting a proactive and autonomous electricity distribution system, to opening up new revenue streams for demand-side flexibility,” according to the WEF report.

The technology exists to realize the potential of AI. There are significant costs, however, in recalibrating systems, and AI-supporting business practices will need to be adopted. Bringing about a reliable and lower-cost future for energy will require an accelerated adoption of AI. And for this, we must see increased collaboration between stakeholders across the ecosystem, and more investment in innovative solutions.

2. Energy storage to take center stage

The global move toward renewables has had a significant role in driving the adoption of battery storage solutions. In 2023 and beyond, both short- and long-duration battery storage technology will continue to be critical.

With the benefit of improved reliability and resilience in an age where the power supply is becoming increasingly decentralized, storage will become an indispensable part of the grid. Indeed, advances in AI, particularly, have brought about innovations in battery storage that were inconceivable a few years ago.

Battery storage is closely linked to the growth in the market for electric vehicles (EV). Today, there are around 16.5 million EVs on the road; by 2050, this is forecast to have increased to 836 million. Despite significant performance improvements and the decreasing costs of energy storage across the board, in many cases, this growth will surpass the rate of upgrades needed for utility infrastructure. More needs to be done.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, or EVSE, is a protocol that keeps drivers and their EV safe while charging, particularly by preventing current from flowing if a charger is incorrectly connected. By pairing storage with EVSE, it will become possible to control peak onsite demand and enable large-scale EV charging without upgrading the utility service at the site.

Storage will become an indispensable part of the grid, with the benefit of improved reliability and resilience in an age where the power supply is becoming more and more decentralized.

3. Technology pushing the envelope

Supply chain issues stemming from the prevailing geopolitical and economic conditions have caused significant disruptions to renewables development in 2022. Despite this, global solar capacity has continued to grow, and is expected to surpass a terawatt of power generation in 2023. The development and construction of more powerful photovoltaic panels that can be set up in increasingly adaptable ways will ensure that the price of solar energy continues a downward trajectory that has seen an 85% cost decline over the past decade.

In comparison to fossil fuel alternatives, solar is already competitive. Pairing solar generation with storage will only increase that competitive advantage, as will improvements in technologies and the exploration of floating solar photovoltaics (FSPV) – both as standalone operations and hybrid projects with hydro-electric generation.

Roughly half of the growth in U.S. renewable energy generation since the beginning of the 2000s can be attributed to individual state’s renewable energy requirements. As of 2021, 10 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, had set 100% clean or renewable portfolio requirements with deadlines ranging from 2030 to 2050. Twenty-two states, plus Washington, DC, have enabling policies for community solar. Alongside this are the Biden administration’s recent targets for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by 2030, and the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), setting the stage for an explosion in private sector investment in renewable technologies, throughout the ecosystem, and particularly in solar in 2023.

Into the future

As 2023 approaches, the long shadow of COVID persists and geopolitical tensions are causing economic strife: All sectors are feeling the pressure. Energy markets face myriad uncertainties into next year and beyond. There is, however, a notable renewed focus from governments on ensuring energy security, and policies are being enacted around the world aimed at tackling the cost-of-living crisis and making energy more affordable.

This could act as a catalyst for renewable technologies and energy efficiency solutions, with accelerated deployments likely around the world in 2023. Effective decarbonization of business activities is complex, however, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is absolutely critical to engage with experts who have the knowledge and resources to provide a robust pathway toward decarbonization tailored to the specific needs of your business.

For help planning, implementing and managing your roadmap to a more sustainable energy portfolio, visit

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