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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.


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.


Basalt, CO



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Authored Works

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…


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…


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.


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…


Efficient Use of Electricity

Electricity is fundamental to the quality of modern life. It is a uniquely valuable, versatile, and controllable form of energy, which can perform many tasks efficiently. In little over 100 years electricity has transformed the ways Americans and most people of the world live. Lighting, refrigeration, electric motors, medical technologies,…


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.” (https://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.


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…


An initial critique of Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.’s working paper “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies,” summarized in The Economist as “Free exchange: Sun, wind and drain”

A May 2014 working paper by nonresident Brookings Institute fellow Dr. Charles Frank, highlighted in The Economist, claims that wind and solar power are the least, while nuclear power and combined-cycle gas generation are the most, cost-effective ways to displace coal-fired power. (He didn’t assess efficiency.) This detailed twelve-page critique…