Clean Tech Is Changing the Environment
Climate change is reaching new records, with 2020 one of the hottest years ever. The impacts of this change if it continues are widespread:
- More than 800 million people could be affected by rising sea levels.
- Natural disasters could become larger and more devastating.
- Global economic output could shrink.
Human impact on climate change is significant, with human activity creating 47% more carbon emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
In order to prevent the problems created by climate change, humans need to take steps to slow our carbon emissions. One of the most significant of those steps is clean tech: One estimate projects that an investment of $110 trillion, with 80% of that money going toward clean tech, could halt the advance of climate change.
At the heart of clean tech is renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power, and hydropower. Recently, clean energy has begun to increase the percentage of electricity production it possesses. This growth is thanks at least in part to falling prices for both solar and wind energy. In addition, certain policies that call for increasing the share that clean energy has in electricity generation to 86 percent by 2050 also drive growth in these fields. As a result, investment in clean energy should reach $1 trillion per year by 2050.
Renewable hydrogen is a new and exciting possibility in the renewable energy field. Separation hydrogen from water using a process called electrolysis, and then combining it with oxygen can produce power. This cutting-edge technology could soon become one of the leading renewable energy options, as its decreasing costs and increasing capacities make it more practical on a large scale.
Efficient Energy Usage
In addition to producing energy from renewable sources, carbon emissions can also be reduced by using energy more efficiently. Creating these efficiencies could reduce emissions by up to 40%.
Technologies like electric heat pumps can transform energy efficiency from 90% to 300%, while improved energy storage capacity can make the use of variable energy sources such as wind and solar more effective by storing excess energy and using it later when the energy source produces less energy (such as on cloudy days).
Smart electric grids also allow for improved energy efficiency by allocating energy based on demand, allowing homeowners to monitor their own energy usage, and more. By 2050, smart grids will need to receive $14 trillion in investments to provide the maximum potential benefits for energy efficiency.
Technologies also exist that can reuse carbon from fossil fuels before it enters and damages the environment. Called carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS), these technologies are necessary alongside other clean tech innovations to help the world reach zero net carbon emissions.
Together, clean tech technologies should grow over the next few decades, presenting an important environmental positive and presenting an important investment opportunity. You may want to consider some of our ESG or Clean Energy investing ideas.