RMI Outlet, Rocky Mountain Institute’s blog, explores topics critical to RMI’s mission to transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.
Plug Into New Ideas
RMI’s Cofounder and Chief Scientist, Amory Lovins has been questioning the viability of nuclear energy to safely and economically meet our energy needs for the last 35 years in his lectures, writings, research, and consulting work. Always a prolific writer, Lovins has been particularly vociferous with this argument since Japan’s Fukushima disaster, writing four pieces about nuclear energy in the last few months.
Response to RADM Robert G. James (USNR Ret.)’s 2 August 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed "Of Mustard Fuel and Marines"
Former Naval and CIA officer and oil-industry executive Robert James claims that military interest in advanced biofuels is a green fad and compromises combat effectiveness. Amory Lovins, who's helped to lead military energy reform for three decades, corrects Dr. James's misconceptions and misrepresentations in this comment posted on 3 August 2011 to his op-ed.
General Electric recently unveiled its FlexEfficiency technology, which delivers both flexibility and efficiency to power plants. The technology responds to and mitigates the variability of wind and solar power by rapidly ramping up and down a jet engine that burns natural gas. The GE turbine can vary its output twice as fast as any other gas plant. RMI’s electricity practice welcomed the news as one of a number of ways forward for adding renewables to the electric grid.
We’ve all heard a common myth about the Empire State Building: if someone drops a penny from the roof, and it hits someone on the ground below just right, it will split them in half. When an audience member at the recent Aspen Business Luncheon asked ESB owner Tony Malkin to validate, he responded, “I’m in the real estate business, and we don’t have that kind of money to throw around.”
Last week, President Obama announced a plan to boost the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the U.S. from 27.5 to 54.5 mpg beginning in 2017—effectively doubling fuel economy standards by 2025. This important step—agreed upon by the auto industry after some wrangling—to reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil requires annual fuel-economy increases of 5 percent for cars.