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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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DOD’s Energy Challenge as Strategic Opportunity

This unabridged version of an April 2010 article published in Joint Force Quarterly, the magazine of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describes how two big ideas—endurance and resilience—can turn the DoD’s energy costs and vulnerabilities into sources of breakthrough advantage, major savings in blood and treasure, and…

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Nuclear Socialism

In this article in The Weekly Standard, Amory Lovins explains why the current 100+% subsidies for new nuclear power plants are still unable to attract private capital, yet violate free-market principles, hazard utilities’ and taxpayers’ financial health, and should be abolished—along with all other energy subsidies.

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Integrative Design: A Disruptive Source of Expanding Returns to Investments in Energy Efficiency

This paper summarizes the principle of integrative design. Integrative design rigorously applies orthodox engineering principles, but achieves radically more energy- and resource-efficient results by asking different questions that change the design logic. Examples described in this paper for buildings, industry, and vehicles show that optimizing whole systems for multiple benefits,…

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Renewables, Micropower, and the Transforming Electricity Landscape

This article, published in RMI’s Spring 2010 Solutions Journal, describes micropower’s acceleration in taking over the global market long dominated by central thermal stations. This conclusion is supported by RMI’s Micropower Database (available to download), which recalculates cogeneration capacity and output from primary data sources.

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Profitable Solutions to Climate, Oil, and Proliferation

Protecting the climate is not costly but profitable (even if avoided climate change is worth zero), mainly because saving fuel costs less than buying fuel. The two biggest opportunities, both sufficiently fast, are oil and electricity. The U.S., for example, can eliminate its oil use by the 2040s at an…

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Proliferation, Oil, and Climate: Solving for Pattern

In this essay, Amory Lovins discusses the problems of proliferation, oil, and climate. These three formidable problems, though treated as distinct, share common causes and solutions. New energy and climate solutions can strengthen security and prosperity by shifting strategy for the NPT Review Conference. Nuclear power’s astonishing eclipse by cheaper,…

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On Proliferation, Climate, and Oil: Solving for Pattern

Proliferation, climate change, and oil dependence share both nuclear non-solutions that frustrate U.S. foreign-policy goals and non-nuclear solutions that can achieve them. This synthesis of all three issues shows how reconciling foreign with domestic energy policy can solve these and other big problems at a profit. This essay, first posted…

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Nuclear Power’s Competitive Landscape

A hotly debated topic, the present and future state of nuclear power and its competitors are the subjects of this presentation by Amory Lovins at RMI2009. Lovins argues that nuclear power is losing to micropower and renewable energy choices because they are cheaper, even with carbon pricing. Likewise, energy end-use…