AMORY LOVINS

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Energy | Environmentalism | Security | Corporate Social Responsibility

Biography

Amory B. Lovins is cofounder and CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a 20-year-old, 50-person, independent, nonpartisan, entrepreneurial, market-oriented, nonprofit applied research center in Old Snowmass, Colorado. RMI fosters the efficient and restorative use of natural and human capital to make the world secure, prosperous, and life-sustaining. Half the Institute's $6 million a year budget comes from business consultancy.

A consultant experimental physicist educated at Harvard and Oxford, Mr. Lovins has received an Oxford MA (by virtue of being a don), eight honorary doctorates, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Heinz, Lindbergh, World Technology, and Hero for the Planet Awards, the Happold Medal, and the Nissan, Mitchell, "Alternative Nobel," Shingo, and Onassis Prizes; held visiting academic chairs; briefed 16 heads of state; published 28 books and several hundred papers; and consulted for scores of industries and governments worldwide, including many major electricity, oil, gas, car, and technology companies.

In the 1990s, Amory Lovins founded, led, spun off as E SOURCE and sold to the Financial Times group in 1999 a team that conducted perhaps the world's deepest examination of advanced techniques for the efficient use of electricity through integrative design. This later expanded into a broad approach to making very large resource savings cost less than small or no savings. He also co-founded and led the most detailed utility experiment in this area (PG&E's ACT2); developed most of the methods now in use for making markets in saved energy; codified 207 "distributed benefits" that can typically increase the economic value of decentralized generators by an order of magnitude; and shaped much of the electricity policy agenda since the mid-1970s. His 1976 Foreign Affairs paper "Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?"--widely credited with having redefined the energy problem in end-use/least-cost terms--suggested a level of year-2000 U.S. energy consumption that is within a few percent of its actual value. In 2000-01, he convened the National Energy Policy Initiative, which reached a strong, visionary, bipartisan consensus on U.S. energy strategy.

In 1990-91, Mr. Lovins invented the Hypercar® concept--a new way to design and build cars, integrating ultra light, ultra-low-drag platforms, hybrid-electric drive, and radically simplified, software-rich design. He led RMI's Hypercar Center in a $3-million exploration and incubation of this concept until 1999, advising many automakers and suppliers worldwide on how to take advantage of it. He put the concept into the public domain in 1993, contributing to the rapidly spreading transformation of the automotive industry and the commitment of private capital thousands of times RMI's R&D investment. In 1999, he spun off a small technology development company, Hypercar, Inc. --which he chairs and in which (to declare an interest) he holds minor equity options--to develop Hypercar designs and technologies that support the industry's transition. The firm has raised over $9 million in private equity and has developed an illustrative, production-costed, manufacturable, midsize SUV concept car designed around a breakthrough manufacturing technique for affordable carbon-fiber autobodies. The vehicle is uncompromised, competitively priced, zero-emission, and quintupled-efficiency. Such designs also permit a rapid and profitable transition to a hydrogen economy.

The Wall Street Journal's Centennial Issue named Amory Lovins among 39 people in the world most likely to change the course of business in the 1990s; Newsweek, "one of the western world's most influential energy thinkers"; Dr. Alvin Weinberg, former Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, "surely the most articulate writer on energy in the whole world today"; and Car magazine, the 22nd most powerful person in the global automotive industry. Dr. John Ahearne, then Vice President of Resources for the Future, remarked that "Amory Lovins has done more to assemble and advance understanding of [energy] efficiency opportunities than any other single person." His technical work focuses on transforming the car, real-estate, electricity, water, semiconductor, oil, chemical, and several other sectors of the economy toward advanced resource productivity. His latest books are Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (with Paul Hawken and L. Hunter Lovins, 1999) and Small Is Profitable: The Hidden Economic Benefits of Making Electrical Resources the Right Size (RMI, August 2002), Economist Book of the Year). In 2002 he was profiled in Time, Fortune, and Esquire.

Mr. Lovins has advised, and spoken for, such firms as Allstate, Anheuser-Busch, Bank of America, Baxter, Borg-Warner, BP/Amoco, Bulmer, Carrier, CIBA-Geigy, Coca-Cola, Dow, Equitable, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Interface, Invensys, Lockheed Martin, Mitsubishi, Monsanto, Motorola, Norsk Hydro, Phillips Petroleum, Prudential, Royal Ahold, Royal Dutch/Shell, Shearson Lehman Amex, STMicroelectronics, Sun Oil, UBS, Westinghouse, Xerox, major real-estate developers, and over 100 electric and gas utilities. His public-sector clients have included OECD, UN, International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study, Resources for the Future, the Australian, Canadian, Dutch, German, and Italian governments, 13 state governments, and the U.S. Congress and the Energy and Defense Departments. He served in 1980-81 on the U.S. Department of Energy's senior advisory board. In 1984 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science "for his book Soft Energy Paths and many other note worthy contributions to energy policy," in 1988, of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2001, of the World Business Academy.

An occasional advisor to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Mr. Lovins has addressed the leading energy, environment, and development groups, and others sponsored by such organizations as The Engineering Foundation, Association of Energy Engineers, ASHRAE, Society of Automotive Engineers, National Academy of Sciences, International Association for Energy Economics, Montreux Energy Forum, Institution of Electrical Engineers, Merrill Lynch, Urban Land Institute, Industrial Development Research Council, American Institute of Architects, Edison Electric Institute, Electric Power Research Institute, Central Research Institute of the [Japan] Electric Power Industry, Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies, Hoover and Brookings Institutions, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations, Commonwealth Club, Keidanren, Conference Board, World Economic Forum, World Bank, Global Business Network, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval War College, National Defense University, Royal Society, and Royal Society of Arts. His experience spans more than fifty countries.

BOOKS    Search For A Book

  • Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
  • Small Is Profitable: The Hidden Economic Benefits of Making Electrical Resources the Right Size
  • Soft Energy Paths

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