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Amory Lovins

Cofounder and Chairman Emeritus
  • Strategic Analysis and Engagement

Physicist Amory Lovins (1947– ) is Cofounder (1982) and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute, which he served as Chief Scientist 2007–19 and now supports as a contractor and Trustee; energy advisor to major firms and governments in 70+ countries for 45+ years; author of 31 books and more than 700 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles.

Background

He has received the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, the MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the Happold, Benjamin Franklin, and Spencer Hutchens Medals, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood (“alternative Nobel”), National Design, and World Technology Awards. In 2016, the President of Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse).

A Harvard and Oxford dropout and former Oxford don, he’s an honorary US architect, Swedish engineering academician, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK). He has taught at ten universities, most recently the Naval Postgraduate School (Professor of Practice 2011–17) and Stanford University, where he’s currently Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Scholar of the Precourt Institute for Energy—but only teaching topics he’s never formally studied, so as to retain beginner’s mind. He served in 2011–18 on the National Petroleum Council and has advised the US Departments of Energy and Defense.

Time has named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. His latest books, mostly coauthored, include Natural Capitalism (1999, www.natcap.org), Small Is Profitable (2002, www.smallisprofitable.org), Winning the Oil Endgame (2004, www.oilendgame.com), The Essential Amory Lovins (2011), and Reinventing Fire (2011, www.reinventingfire.com).

His main recent efforts include supporting RMI’s collaborative synthesis, for China’s National Development and Reform Commission, of an ambitious efficiency-and-renewables trajectory that informed the 13th Five Year Plan; helping the Government of India design transformational mobility; and exploring how to make integrative design the new normal, so investments to energy efficiency can yield increasing rather than diminishing returns.

His avocations include fine-art mountain and landscape photography (www.judyhill.com), writing, music, linguistics, great-ape language and conservation, and Taoism.

Location

Basalt, CO

Twitter

@AmoryLovins

Downloadable Bios

General Audience

Energy/Security Audience

Automotive/Transportation Audience

Architecture Audience

Chinese Language

Authored Works
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Preface to the Chinese Edition of Winning the Oil Endgame

In the preface to the Chinese edition to Winning the Oil Endgame, Amory Lovins puts the book in context for the Chinese audience. Winning the Oil Endgame offers a strategy for ending U.S. oil dependence. This synthesis is the first roadmap of the oil solution that is led by business…

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The Nuclear Illusion

This paper challenges the view that nuclear power is competitive, necessary, reliable, secure, and affordable. The authors explain why nuclear power is uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete. The authors explore the economics of nuclear power by looking at past and future costs of new nuclear plants, what alternatives they must beat,…

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Applied Hope

This article was written for RMI’s 2008 Annual Report. In it, Amory Lovins outlines RMI’s fundamental concept of “Applied Hope”. Lovins explains that RMI works within the framework of applied hope, which means “our ninety people work hard to make the world better, not from some airy theoretical hope, but…

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Drilling in All the Wrong Places

In this article from RMI’s Solutions Journal, Amory Lovins argues that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is bad for the United States’ national security. He argues that it is insecure and accessible to attackers. He also argues that the pipeline is not an important source…

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2008 Micropower Database: How Distributed Renewables and Cogeneration are Beating Nuclear Power Stations — Supporting Data, Methodology, and Graphs

2008 Edition: The purpose of the micropower database is to present a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of the global capacity and electrical output of micropower (all renewables, except large hydro and cogeneration), showing its development over time and documenting all data and assumptions. With minor exceptions, this information is…

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Getting Off Oil: Recent Leaps and Next Steps

This article is a 2008 update on the progress of RMI’s 2005 effort to implement Winning the Oil Endgame. In this article, Amory Lovins provides an update on recent progress in many of the sectors targeted in Winning the Oil Endgame. He also describes the steps required to implement the…

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Smart Garage Charrette Report

Bringing electrified vehicles, advanced net-zero buildings, and a smart renewable grid together in innovative ways to provide clean, cheap, and secure mobility and electricity: that is the vision of Smart Garage. But how to get there? RMI convened 80 individuals from 25 companies, universities, non-profits, and national labs who are…

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Forget Nuclear

This nontechnical summary article compares the cost, climate protection potential, reliability, financial risk, market success, deployment speed, and energy contribution of new nuclear power with those of its low- or no-carbon competitors. It explains why soaring taxpayer subsidies aren’t attracting investors. Capitalists instead favor climate-protecting competitors with less cost, construction…

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Ultralight Vehicles: Non-Linear Correlations Between Weight and Safety

Development of dramatically lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles has been slowed by perceptions that lighter vehicles are less safe. Highly safe lightweight vehicles may seem counterintuitive. Yet, size need not determine the weight of a vehicle and vehicle safety is primarily a function of design. RMI virtually modeled an ultralight concept…