As we all settle into the New Year, making (or if you’re like me, already abandoning) our 2023 resolutions, you as a climate-minded community may be thinking about what to look out for this year in the climate world.
There are some significant climate solutions upcoming in 2023. While this is certainly non-comprehensive — climate solutions are popping up around us all day every day and communities most vulnerable to climate change continue to show resilience and adapt — here are a few big things that you can look forward to as we embark on yet another year of fighting for a more just and sustainable future.
The theme in the US for 2023 is: Energy, Energy, Clean Energy
2023 is the year for making moves on clean energy in the United States. In 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a landmark climate bill. Now, it’s time for the $369 billion allocated to energy security and climate change to start flowing — if all goes exceptionally smoothly. However, things going “smoothly” is unlikely now that Republicans narrowly control the House. That being said, several major projects are already in motion.
- US offshore wind development, *finally*
As of right now, the US has a meager seven wind turbines spinning offshore. Yes, you read that right, seven. That should finally change this year. In 2022, two companies broke ground (or water I guess?) on the first commercial-scale offshore wind farms in the United States. Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2023. In New York, the South Fork Wind project is projected to produce 132 megawatts of energy — enough to power 70,000 homes. While in Massachusetts, the Vineyard Wind project will produce a wapping 800 megawatts — enough to power 400,000 homes and businesses.
Several other big wind projects are on the heels of South Fork and Vineyard, including one in the Pacific which had its first-ever lease sale last December. According to the Department of the Interior, the leased area has the potential to produce over 4.6 gigawatts of offshore wind energy. In the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), finalized two wind energy areas and intends to list them for auction this year.
- Investment in US solar is booming, and it’s surprisingly affordable
In 2022, the solar industry greatly increased its solar capacity, and projections say that trend will continue into 2023. For those who want to own solar, the IRA includes a 30 percent federal tax credit for residential solar. For those of us who aren't homeowners, the IRA also includes tax incentives for community solar.
- The EVs industry expands
Soon, you’ll have about as many EV options as you do bad Netflix originals. In 2022, electric trucks were the *hot new thing*, but look out for a rise in the sensible electric SUVs in 2023. Family vehicles, like electric SUVs, will be made more accessible via the IRA, which includes a tax credit based on income. Additionally, the IRA will help develop the EV charging network across the US.
- Loss and damage finance
During this year’s global United Nations Climate Conference, COP27, activists and leaders focused in on loss and damage finance. Loss and damage finance refers to the financial climate reparations the Global North owes to countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis for the disasters they are already facing. 2023 is the year of putting pressure to make those pledges happen.
— Abbie Veitch