Forbes energy writer Ariel Cohen addressed this question in a recent article, adopting the optimistic view of renewables, noting “We have now entered the era of the renewable energy resource, whereby zero-emission electricity is generated via near unlimited inputs (solar radiation, wind, tides, hydrogen, and eventually, deuterium). Cutting-edge, smart electric grids, utility-scale storage, and electric self-driving vehicles – powered by everything from lithium-ion batteries to hydrogen fuel cells – are critical elements of this historic energy transition.”
Cohen accurately argued that all these trends would eliminate a large portion of global oil and gas demand and therefore affect Russia’s fossil fuel revenues adversely. That would certainly be the case had all the trends listed by Cohen reached their heyday. This heyday, however, is still in the future.
According to the International Energy Agency, demand for natural gas will continue to rise at least for the next 5 years. Chances are, of course, it will continue to rise for much longer than 5 years as the world switches to the cleaner energy source. Yet, according to Cohen, even China will not be forever thirsty for gas: “As China is joining the developed countries and trying to curb emissions, it will limit imports of Russian hydrocarbons.”
This is another fair argument but it is incomplete: if China is joining “the developed countries” and cutting emissions, it will be reducing not just Russian but all hydrocarbon imports. That would have reverberations not just for Russia but for other large oil and gas exporters, including the U.S., which has staked a major claim on the LNG market of the future.
While there is no question that energy exports in the US account for a lot less of federal revenues than Russia's do, a lot is being invested in the U.S. LNG industry to ensure its long-term survival and thriving. This basically means that if the industry is making long-term plans then it sees sustainable demand for at least one fossil fuel: gas.