This past year was notable for a number of advances in renewable energy. Governments and businesses alike invested significantly in these types of energy alternatives in hopes of reducing their carbon footprint. As a result, offshore wind and solar energy programs saw increased interest, as did options for improved grid storage. At the same time, new green energy offerings like natural hydrogen and nuclear fusion made some significant strides. Though these advances in renewable energy have been slower than some would like, they have progressed, nonetheless, and it is expected that the growth of clean energy in 2024 will continue on this same path. There are already several indicators that highlight opportunities for progress in clean energy in 2024. The following list some of those most likely to make major headlines.
The Impact of Generative AI on Energy
Before discussing key developments expected in clean energy in 2024, it’s worth recognizing the role AI will play. Generative AI, which uses machine learning and large language models, will be influencing nearly every sector this year. The energy sector is no different.
Generative AI’s ability to create new content means it will facilitate smart energy developments. Through AI modeling, simulations, asset management, and market analysis, energy companies and systems can improve. This will result in greater accuracy and forecasting capacities. It will also be able to reduce risks, improve safety, and support regulatory compliance. But most importantly, AI will drive energy innovations through its ability to democratize information. The access to AI insights as it relates to clean energy in 2024 will support many advances in renewable energy. While many advances in renewable energy will occur, it’s important to note AI will be one of the key drivers.
Wind and Solar Projections for 2024
On a global basis, both offshore wind and solar advances in renewable energy are expected this year. For solar power, the role this will play in total energy solutions is expected to increase by 83% in 2024 from last year. Much of this progress in solar clean energy in 2024 is expected to result from improved solar panel power generation. Worldwide, this means that solar energy will contribute more than a terawatt of power. These efforts will be realized in several countries including the U.S. China, Europe, and India. These same countries are also investing heavily in offshore wind turbines. These efforts are expected to continue to advance despite the challenges associated with wind energy. As solutions to these challenges move toward fruition, expect both solar and wind to play an increasing part of nation’s energy portfolios. Though these may not provide the lion’s share of clean energy in 2024, their impact will still increase in significance.
Advances in Clean Hydrogen Energy
In 2023, new discoveries concerning natural hydrogen took place in France and other locations. This stimulated optimism about the potential for hydrogen to lead advances in renewable energy in the near future. While these discoveries were noteworthy and will continue in 2024, it will be a few years before natural hydrogen might be easily harvested. As such, advances in renewable energy related to hydrogen will involve hydrogen production in the coming year. Specifically, improvements in electrolyzer technologies will offer ways to enhance the efficiency of hydrogen production while lowering costs. For the past few years, hydrogen energy production offered a limited margin of success. But with recent advances, anticipate these margins to increase substantially. This along with natural hydrogen gas discoveries will drive investments into this clean energy.
Energy Grid and Storage Developments
One of the increasing advances in renewable energy needed involves better energy storage solutions. Highs and lows of energy supply and demand are inevitable. And there needs to be a better capacity to store surplus for times of need. As a result, storage of clean energy in 2024 will be explored in greater depth. Many solutions that will begin to appear will involve generative AI and its ability to enhance energy storage. For example, grid integrations will increase in 2024 with infrastructure upgrades. This will provide distributed energy systems and smart grids that better regulate energy supply and demand.
Advances in renewable energy storage will also involve batteries. Solid-state batteries are expected to advance this year, which offer higher density and longer life spans. These are better than lithium-ion batteries in this regard. Other innovations in clean energy in 2024 will likely see improvements to vehicle-to-grid systems. In addition to accessing the grid directly for energy, EVs will also be able to contribute to energy storage. These are clearly among the more exciting advances in renewable energy anticipated in the year to come.
Business and Government Green Energy Adoption
While science and technology research will account for many advances in renewable energy, so will business and governments. A recent survey involving corporate executives noted that 68% of them anticipate an increased reliance on renewables in 2024. Energy companies in the gas and oil sector will also be looking to diversify their energy portfolios. This means they will be expanding into clean energy in 2024 through a variety of strategies. In addition to conducting their own R&D on biofuels, many will collaborate with startups. Green energy companies thus have a better potential this year to gain VC funding perhaps than last year.
In other sectors, increased investments in green energy will also occur. Projections anticipate broad investments in clean energy in 2024 in food, textile, pharma, logistics, and automotive industries. These trends will be accompanied by government supports designed for advances in renewable energy. Subsidies, tax breaks, and regulatory framework changes are all expected to increase in favor of clean energy initiatives this year. Given that China is leading the way in many green energy areas, this will be important for the U.S. Needless to say, 2024 will be a busy year when it comes to advances in renewable energy.