Batteries Annual Clean Energy Investment to 2030

Published on April 25th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


#1 Cleantech Presentation — Bloomberg New Energy Finance CEO Michael Liebreich (VIDEO)

April 25th, 2013 by  

I’ve been covering cleantech for several years now. I’ve watched more presentations than I could count. This one below by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) CEO Michael Liebreich is the best I’ve seen (h/t David Roberts).

The video covers a huge portion of what we continuously write about here on CleanTechnica. In this post, I could of course write more about each point Liebrich discusses, but it would take many hours and thousands of words, and it still wouldn’t compare to the presentation below — (plus, we’ve actually written about many or even most of the points in this video already).

No matter how much we advance technologically, not much compares to a well-spoken presentation packed full of useful and informative graphs and charts.

So, let’s just get to it — watch this video (and share it):

If the video above didn’t work for you for some reason, perhaps you can watch it on the Bloomberg TV website.

Unfortunately, the slides aren’t available yet.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

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  • agelbert

    The Exxon CEO is definitely a dinosaur(and a liar too!).
    Also, for the speaker to compare on a same level of “social acceptance” requirement a shale oil boreal forest wasteland and a wind farm shows a rather caloused an ignorant view of ACTUAL COSTS in regard to ROI on these projects.
    Even though I agree with the “message” (i.e. are you a dinosaur or mammal?) that the speaker is relaying to the predatory capitalists in the audience which forcefully and irrevocally telegraphs the reality of the doom of fossil fuels and nuclear, I think this fellow is off by 10 years.
    In fact, I believe that 2017, the year of the first ice free summer in the arctic, will be the year the world decides to leave the rest of the fossil fuels in the ground, the book value of fossil fuel deposits flips from plus trillions of $$$ to ZERO

    • Ross

      To be fair to the guy I don’t think we was saying a wind farm is at the same level as destroying boreal forest. He was acknowledging that wind power developers encounters some resistance and it isn’t all just coming from politicians that haven’t yet switched sides to sustainability.

      • agelbert

        Wind power is still in its infancy. However, already skyscrapers powered by vertical axis wind turbines are being built.

        Watch this Boomtime Asia:Guangzhou, China video here:
        At any rate, my bet is the horrendous weather we are increasingly experiencing will, within a decade, tilt EVERYBODY onto the sustainability with renewables band wagon. It will be quite painful for the fossil fuel corporations. GOOD!

    • addicted4444

      Umm. He is a guy whose only job is to provide accurate information to the “predatory capitalists” in the audience. He isn’t making a moral, or environmentalist argument. He is making a purely economic argument.

      The fact that even a purely economic argument has tilted in favor of renewables should be a great sign for our future.

      • agelbert

        “The fact that even a purely economic argument has tilted in favor of renewables should be a great sign for our future.”

        Agreed but it is high time that morality DID return to business practices and economic decisions. The cockamamie Wall Street concept that making money is irrelevant to morality is inhumane and socially destructive. It’s time that sociopathic CRAP was shit canned.

        “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

        John Kenneth Galbraith

        • Bob_Wallace

          When has morality played a major role in business practices?

          One might argue that it did in “small town America”, but it’s more likely that those small businesses knew that their customer base was limited and they had to play it somewhat straight in order to stay in business.

          In other words, even those guys weren’t making “moral” decisions, they were making “profit” decisions tempered by what they felt they could and couldn’t get away with.

          We must expect businesses to constantly push the limits and we have to set and adjust the limits in order to protect ourselves.

          • agelbert

            Well, in the final analysis, is not morality the only sustainable attitude for Homo sapiens, whether in business or not? GAAP (generally accepted accounting practices) even has a balance sheet intangible called “good will” that is assigned a monetary value. Yes, I know Wall Street has ALSO flipped that on its head to twist it into “brand” value but the intent of “good will” is to express the reliability and integrity of a business as a goinf concern. That is NOT just about profit, no matter what the modern day corrupt business schools are pushing.
            One COULD say that moral behavior is “selfish” because, as a species interacting with the biosphere, it’s the only path to a harmonious and sustainable existence.

  • Bob_Wallace


    Water was my big take-away from this presentation. I had realized the problem that US nuclear growth would face from a lack of cooling water, but I hadn’t realized how much fossil fuels around the world were likely to be contained by water shortages.

    Not just cooling water for thermal plants, but also water for natural gas extraction.

    Even governments which don’t “appreciate the fine points of renewables” have to be thinking ahead to their country’s future water needs. Moving to renewables lets them free more water for agriculture and population use.

    • agelbert

      Agreed. And one of the areas of innovation ready made for solar decentralized power is a solar power water generator. During the day it could generate enough water for household needs. This would potentially eliminate the need to have all the plumbing that sends potable water into homes. The only areas on Earth not suitable for generating potable water from the atmosphere are where the relative humidity is below 23% (deserts). Most places are twice that much or more in relative humidity.
      Solar powered water generators plus renewable power freeing up power plant used water for agricultural use would, as you imply, solve the water scarcity issue.

      • A solar power water generator, we call a fig tree. Put in the right mix of plants and you can harvest humidity in the desert.

        • agelbert

          True but I’m talking about sufficient potable water for the average family to drink, cook, bathe and wash clothes with.

  • I am a mammal.

  • wattleberry

    It was an absorbing and impressive presentation ‘marshalling the unpredictables’ so long as we continue to recognise it as such and don’t think making lists somehow ameliorates that. Whatever,checklists are necessary.

    It seems to me at the moment the only certainty is that renewables must utimately prevail but we have no idea of the route or timetable simply because most of the technology remains to be settled. The question of scale was touched on but this, as I have said before, is not yet much of an issue for the same reason.

    The good news is that the research is progressing by a myriad of relatively small projects which should reduce the risk of us going up too many expensive blind alleys in the process. In fact, the blind alleys appear to be more of a factor in justifying the continuation of non-renewable sources!

  • ToddFlach

    This was indeed a brilliant talk that combined all the right issues framed in the proper way. The speaker even gave a scenario-based predictive model. Folks, if you want to understand what is happening in the energy world the next 30 years, this talk is perhaps the fastest way to achieve this. What he only slightly touched on was the geopolitical impacts. Oil and coal exporting countries and companies are in for a world of hurt. The competitive edge of the USA will grow significantly and the USA may quit policing the Persian gulf. Old-style centralized fossil-fuel power utilities are looking into their graves.

  • addicted4444

    Another interesting point of note about this is that I was employed by Bloomberg LP when they purchased New Energy Finance (late 2009). I went for an internal (but not confidential) presentation by some New Energy Finance folks about the state of renewable energy in early 2010. I don’t remember the exact figures and dates, but they were predicting solar/wind parity with coal would not happen until at least 2015-2016 (or possibly later) anywhere in the world. The dramatic drop in prices of solar/wind has definitely caught everyone off guard.

  • addicted4444

    Great talk. Thanks for pointing this out. It is clearly a well thought out, slightly optimistic viewpoint of the future of the world based on current and projected trends.

    Also, BNEF has been ahead of the game in their projections, compared to pretty much anyone else so their opinions are really more valuable than most (just the example of how most experts are projecting the electricity demand curve to remain the same shape as historic demand curves, i.e. rising with GDP, shows that they are largely out of touch. And hardly anyone else from the financial industry is doing any analysis of water impacts, which will indeed become a huge issue, as pointed out).

    I think there is a lot of reason to be extremely optimistic, but highly cautious. Considering no breakthroughs in the clean energy arena, the only thing that could potentially derail the future as laid out in this presentation is a highly coordinated lobbying/misinformation push by the fossil fuel industries. It is something citizens, and governments need to be extremely wary of.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The fossil fuel industry has been pushing and misinforming very hard in the US and they’re starting to lose. We’re seeing the political power of renewables emerging, Red State governors lobbying for continuation of wind subsidies as an example. We’ve seen legislation attempts to limit renewables at the state level turned back. The most recent a couple of days ago in North Carolina.

      The fossil fuel industry push in Germany just failed.

      I’m not seeing the projected growth in coal that is being presented. New coal plants are expensive and have to run pretty much 24/365 to pay for themselves. As rapidly as wind and solar prices are falling large hunks of that 24 hour period are going to be covered at a better price by renewables which will make dispatchable NG with its low capex very attractive.

      • addicted4444

        Bob, the projected growth of coal must almost certainly be from India and China. Although, I think this might not last very long.

        1) In China, there seems to be a small, but very significant shift in the Communist Party’s growth at all costs strategy, especially after that multiday Beijing smog. I don’t think the Chinese people are going to tolerate the destruction of their country’s environment too much longer (as demonstrated by the rising number of environmental based riots). And the ruling party realizes that, hence their creation of a carbon tax, and push for solar and wind energy.
        2) In India, there are many coal plants in the pipeline. However, it is becoming more evident day by day that these were only approved due to political corruption and bribery. Existing coal plants cannot meet their promises of delivering electricity below

        • Bob_Wallace

          I think China is undergoing a major rethink of their energy future. We can see signs of that in their decision to build no new nuclear plants inland. Part of that decision is safety, but a large part is likely the lack of water. The same is likely to happen to coal.

          At the same time China has been installing a tremendous amount of wind, has increased its 2015 solar target from 5 GW to 31 GW and is getting ready to make a major push to get more of its citizens to purchase EVs.

          In so many ways moving to renewables is a winning decision for China. China sees that they will not continue to make huge amounts of money as a very low cost manufacturer. They’ve got an aging population and an increasing lifestyle. There’s no large supply of young workers who will labor for almost nothing.

          One of the ways that they protect their economy is to reduce imports. They import oil and coal. Even if they burn their own coal they have to import oil to move it from mine to plant.

          China has all the sunshine and wind it needs, no need to import. It is building the equipment needed to turn it into electricity. It is starting to build EVs and batteries. By moving to renewables they can be self-sufficient and not be forced to send money across their boarders.

          China has a lot of hydro to use as a fill-in for wind and solar.

          Renewables are an economic and environmental winner for China. I suspect we will see them move very strongly in that direction and away from fossil fuels.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Just yesterday I saw this piece from Bloomberg on wind and coal in India.

          “Greenko Group Plc (GKO), an Indian wind- farm developer, plans to install bigger turbines as the cost of the nation’s projects fall below the price of coal-fired energy.”

          “We’re now being driven by supply and demand, and the fact that the Indian economy is still growing, and there’s a big shortage of power,” Thompson said. “I don’t think the market really appreciates the scale of the renewable opportunity, the scale of the demand for power, or the economics behind it.”

          The cheapest bids to supply long-term round-the-clock coal power are about 5.5 rupees (10 cents) a kilowatt-hour in Uttar Pradesh in northern India, he said. “We’re selling in places wind power at 4.7 and hydro at 3 and a half. In all the states we’re in our power is at or better than grid parity.”

          India has similar fossil fuel problems to China. They don’t have their own supplies or at least import oil to move their coal. If they can bring new wind/solar on line for a lesser cost than using fossil fuels they not only get cheaper, cleaner energy but they save a lot on foreign exchange from then on.

          Plus, with both countries, wind farms are generally completed in a couple of years with parts of the farm able to come on line much faster. Large solar arrays come on line extremely faster. New thermal plants can take a decade before they start producing.

          The stars are aligning for renewables. If we get affordable utility scale storage in the next couple of years as some are predicting then I think we’ll see peak fossil fuel much sooner than 2030.

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