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Amory Lovins

Chairman Emeritus
Chief Scientist
Co-founder
RMI Trustee
  • Executive Leadership
  • Office of the Chief Scientist

Physicist Amory Lovins (1947), FRSA, is cofounder and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org); energy advisor to major firms and governments in 65+ countries for 40+ years; author of 31 books and more than 600 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles.

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, former Oxford don, honorary US architect, and Swedish engineering academician, he has taught at ten universities, most recently Stanford’s Engineering School and the Naval Postgraduate School (but only on topics he’s never studied, so as to retain beginner’s mind). He served in 2011–18 on the National Petroleum Council. 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 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 expanding rather than diminishing returns.

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Basalt, CO

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@AmoryLovins

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Energy/Security Audience

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Authored Works
Outlet Blog Post

Micropower’s Quiet Takeover

In a cover story and article 14 years ago about the emergent disruption of utilities, The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran coined the umbrella term “micropower” to mean sources of electricity that are relatively small, modular, mass-producible, quick-to-deploy, and hence rapidly scalable—the opposite of cathedral-like power plants that cost billions…

Outlet Blog Post

Three Energy Gamechangers for China and the World

This decade China is set to regain the status it has held for 18 of the past 20 centuries: the world’s largest economy. A major engine of historic success was China’s inexorable drive to develop and deploy new technologies, far outpacing other civilizations. As Joseph Needham documented, and his student…

Outlet Blog Post

Sowing Confusion About Renewable Energy

Readers of The Economist may have been surprised to read in its 26 July 2014 “Free exchange” section on page 63, or in its online version, the “clear” conclu­sion that solar and wind power are “the most expen­sive way of reducing green­house-gas emissions,” while “nuclear plants…are cheaper,” so governments…

insight

Energy Efficiency: The Rest of the Iceberg

 In 2014, Shell commissioned Amory Lovins to write a paper for its book “The Colors of Energy” [www.shell.com/colours] commemorating the centenary of Shell’s Amsterdam Technical Centre, then to present its thesis at the ceremony, where it was warmly received. Its thesis: energy efficiency is a huge, cheap, often expanding-returns, and…

Outlet Blog Post

Inside the Book Resource Revolution

During the first Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, economic growth and societal progress faced a problem of relative scarcity—not of resources, which were then considered inexhaustibly abundant, but of people. Making people (and the labor processes by which they manufactured goods and provided services) radically…

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Oil-Free Transportation

For the 2014 annual conference of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), Amory Lovins wrote a condensed, technical summary on Oil-Free Transportation.

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Amory Lovins’ articles on Germany’s energy transition

Please find below a collection of Amory Lovins’ articles on Germany’s energy transition, organized from new to old. How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win For Germany (Forbes, June 2014) Separating Fact from Fiction in Accounts of Germany’s Renewables Revolution (RMI…

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Urgent Memo to Biotech Pioneers: Life is More Than a DNA Sequence

Adapted and updated from the noted 1999 essay “A Tale of Two Botanies.” (http://www.rmi.org/biotechnology/twobotanies.html) Amory Lovins’s Huffington Post invited commentary on some remarks by Dr. Craig Venter and summarizes the limitations and risks of genomics, transgenics, and artificial life.

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Micropower Database 2014 (July)

2014 (July) 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…