Global fossil fuel emissions could peak by 2025, according to New Energy Finance CEO Michael Liebreich.
New Energy Finance in April forecasted that emissions would peak in 2030, “which is more optimistic than all the other mainstream forecasters,” he said at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) in New York City on June 25.
However, China, one of the world’s largest fossil fuel emitters, is now discussing whether that peak will occur earlier.
“In China, the official line is that China’s fossil energy use will peak in 2035, except that now they’re discussing whether it might not peak because of all the trends in China – because of the economic slowdown, because of the end of their infrastructure boom, because of their investment in renewables and clean energy, because of their energy intensity; they might see that peak in 2025,” Liebreich said.
Liebreich presented several long-term trends affecting the energy industry, including the imbalance of supply and demand on the renewable energy side, particularly in solar manufacturing; the dynamics of oil and natural gas; improving energy intensity; and the unpredictability of the world’s future energy mix.
The solar industry’s manufacturing of materials, including solar photovoltaic panels, far outpaced demand, and that demand is not forecast to absorb the excess supply for a few years, Liebreich said.
“While people have been suffering on supply side, we’ve seen some of the smartest investors in the world investing on the demand side,” he said. “[For] every supplier selling wind turbines or solar panels there’s somebody buying cheap solar capacity, cheap turbines.”