Stay Ahead of the Game: A Look into Current Renewable Energy Industry Trends

The global energy market is getting greener, and the need for energy resilience is creating a runway for even more industry growth as we head into 2024.

Although there were some bumps in the road last year due to supply chain issues, project delays and inflation that affected the market, the renewable energy industry in 2023 has already shown promising signs that it's about to take off. Soaring energy demand, the incentives from the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and evolving trends and opportunities for investment are now setting the stage for even more projected growth in renewables in 2024 and beyond.

No doubt it’s an exciting time to watch the renewable energy industry as it poised to create opportunities both now and in the future. So where are we at right now and what does that mean for renewable energy job seekers?

Stay ahead of the game with us as we go over some of the need-to-know trends.

2023 trends to watch

Unprecedented investment financially, socially and environmentally are putting all eyes on the renewable energy industry as it races to catch up with demand and meet emissions goals.  

The reality of global climate change alone provides a compelling reason for industry growth, and it’s definitely still driving trends in 2023. According to the International Energy Agency, electricity generation-related CO2 emissions reached a record high in 2022. It’s a shocking statistic, but the recent movement in the global energy transition actually should point us towards hope for the transforming power of renewables and a sustainable future through green job growth.

Hope is just what 2023 has brought. We’re on the brink of a green jobs boom and this year we’ve already seen several key trends reinforce a promising future ahead. We’ve highlighted three of the top renewable industry trends that are paving the long runway of persistent growth, even as industry challenges have remained.

1. Effects of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)

We can’t look at trends affecting the renewable energy industry outlook in the United States without understanding the game-changing effects of the IRA.

This landmark piece of legislation continues to have wide reaching effects in both the short term and long term growth of renewables. Some of the key areas we are seeing immediate impact are job growth, solar growth, energy storage and emerging technologies to name a few.

It’s clear to us that the IRA is not only ushering in a green jobs boom but it's also providing pathways for employment, growth for key industries like solar, energy storage and EVs, as well as opening the floodgates for continued investment and emerging technologies.

- Job Growth: A recent study from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) approximates that the IRA will generate 912,000 jobs each year over the bill’s 10-year lifespan. That’s a lot of jobs! From tradesmen to engineers, the industry is seeing a need for skilled workers likened to the recent tech jobs boom. The IRA is paving the way for these high quality jobs through workforce training programs, apprenticeships and wage targets.

- Solar Growth: According to CleanTechnica, residential solar demand is up 35% year over year and with the IRA’s tax credits, incentives and support, the U.S. is on the way to developing a full domestic solar supply chain.

- Energy Storage: With the IRA introducing a meaningful tax credit and incentive for stand-alone battery storage, energy storage projects are on the rise. Before this change, all batteries needed to be connected to a solar facility to receive the benefits of a credit, making it much more difficult to kick off one of these projects. Now we should see an increase of these projects, with an end result creating a more efficient power grid.

- Emerging technologies: The IRA is viewed as a game changer for the US green hydrogen industry which could make materials like “green steel,” steel made from green hydrogen rather than fossil fuels, more competitive in price as well as green cement and green glass.

- Widening the floodgates for more global investments in the U.S.: The favorable IRA incentives, a cool $370 billion to be exact, earmarked for energy transition, core and alternative renewable projects really helped bolster the U.S. renewable energy market in its attractiveness for global investments.

2. Rising to industry challenges

Accelerated energy transition:
Low emissions and renewable energy sources are set to take over almost all of the growth in global electricity demand by 2025 (IEA) globally, and by 2030 in the United States.  

Although China and the European Union currently account for most of the global renewable energy growth, the U.S. still has the second largest renewable energy sector in the world.  We’re on track to have renewable energy be our leading source of energy generation by 2030 and by 2050, renewable energy should provide nearly 50% of our energy (International Trade Administration).

Tackling project delays:
Project delays persist, but domestic manufacturing could help ease this by helping the U.S. meet its energy manufacturing needs.

According to Deloitte, IRA incentives have opened the gates for new plant announcements and significant investment in domestic manufacturing, and that’s likely to continue to gain steam throughout 2023.

Demand for more electricity and a resilient power supply:
Extreme weather events highlight the need for increased security of supply and resilience (IEA). The U.S. hasn’t been immune from the extreme weather conditions like wildfires, drought and extreme temperatures placing a high demand on a more resilient, efficient power supply.

With instances of U.S. power outages doubling over the past 20 years (The Guardian), as well as the increase for electrical demand hitting an all time high in 2022, there is higher residential and commercial need to meet both heating and cooling demands amid hotter summer weather and colder-than-normal winters.

3. The need for a secure digital future

Data and cybersecurity:
An accelerated energy transition means an increased need for data, digital and cybersecurity (EY).

From emissions reporting, to documenting carbon reductions, data management and tracking will be a leading focus for all clients navigating changes in the energy landscape. Another pressing issue for the renewables industry is cybersecurity. Smart grid technologies, which help integrate, monitor, control and steer bidirectional flows of energy, significantly heighten the risk of cyber attacks.

What’s next for job seekers?

Now is a great time to get ahead of the green jobs boom and consider a role in the renewable industry.

With the need for skilled workers more pressing than ever and continuing to grow in demand, it’s a hot market for job seekers who want to learn a new industry and get into a fast moving field! Plus, we have to add it’s pretty cool to be able to contribute to an industry innovating to solve our most pressing and challenging environmental issues. Not sure planet-saver is an official job title, but you get what we mean.

It’s also a great time to partner with a renewable staffing agency!

As a result of the jobs boom and staffing shortages, renewable energy companies are seeking creative staffing solutions. Working with a staffing firm specializing in renewable energy, like Intelletec, is a great way to connect to the numerous opportunities in the field right now.

Are you looking for a career in renewable energy? Intelletec’s clients are hiring!

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