December 6, 2013 - Energy Academic Group
Reinventing Fire: Secure Energy
Without Oil, Coal, or Nuclear
December 6, 2013
Dr. Amory B. Lovins
Cofounder and Chief Scientist,
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)
A transdisciplinary "grand synthesis" published in 2011 by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) showed in detail how to run a 2.6x-bigger 2050 U.S. economy with no oil, coal, or nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, 82–86% lower fossil carbon emissions, and a $5-trillion lower net-present-value cost than business-as-usual (counting all externalities at zero). The transition requires no inventions nor Acts of Congress, but can be led by business for profit, enabled by administrative and state policy innovations and sped by military innovation. These surprising outcomes emerge from integrating all four energy-using sectors (transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity) and four kinds of innovations not just technology and public policy but also design and business strategy. A key theme, Integrative design, often makes very large energy savings cost less than small or no savings, turning diminishing returns into expanding returns. An efficient, diverse, distributed, renewable electricity system can yield important economic, risk-management, and resilience benefits. These civilian findings also reflect important military opportunities for more fight with less fuel and for more resilient facilities and effective operations. RMI recently launched a collaborative initiative to apply Reinventing Fire’s findings to China.
Amory B. Lovins, 66, has been active in ~50 countries for nearly 40 years as an innovator and practitioner in energy and its links to security, development, environment, and economy. He is cofounder (1982), Chief Scientist, and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute—an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources (www.rmi.org). Originally a consultant experimental physicist, and author of 31 books and over 480 papers, he has received MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the “Alternative Nobel,” Zayed, Blue Planet, Onassis, Volvo, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, the Benjamin Franklin and Happold Medals, 12 honorary doctorates, and the National Design, Heinz, Lindbergh, and World Technology Awards. In 2009, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. A Swedish engineering academician, former Oxford don, honorary US architect, and member of the National Petroleum Council, he has briefed 23 heads of state, advises industries and governments worldwide (as well as DoD and DOE) mainly on advanced energy and resource efficiency, and has led the superefficient redesign of >$40 billion worth of facilities in 29 sectors. His “integrative design” techniques often make very large energy savings cheaper than small ones Since 1991, he has also led the development of quintupled-efficiency, uncompromised, cost-effective automobiles and low-cost advanced-composite manufacturing technology to make them. His Small Is Profitable was an Economist 02 book of the year (www.smallisprofitable.org). His OSD- and ONR-cosponsored 04 synthesis Winning the Oil Endgame roadmapped how to eliminate U.S. oil use by 2040 and revitalize the economy, led by business for profit. His Oct 11 Reinventing Fire synthesis expanded that to include coal and save $5t (www.reinventingfire.com).
Dr. Lovins’s security background includes devising the first logically consistent approach to nuclear nonproliferation (technical papers4 and two books, 79–83); performing for DoD the still-definitive UNCLAS study of domestic energy critical infrastructure and resilience; codeveloping a “new security triad” of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and nonprovocative defense; lecturing at NDU, DAU, USMA, USNA, NWC, NPS, STRATCOM, etc. on least-cost security and on how new technologies will transform missions and force structures; leading for VADM Lopez the 95–98 overhaul of NAVFAC’s design process; leading a 00–01 analysis for SECNAV of how to save up to half the hotel-load electricity aboard USS Princeton CG-597; supporting QDR10; addressing ASNE 10 and the USMC Commandant’s 10 expeditionary energy symposium; and serving on 99–01 and 06–08 Defense Science Board panels finding cost-effective DoD fuel-saving potential later estimated by RMI to total ~66%, excluding consequent lift savings. Dr. Lovins continues to help DoD with energy strategy and platform efficiency, has been tasked by COMNAVSEA to help transform the Naval design process, and aims to help the Services develop a “Manx FOB” approach with no tail—no fuel or water logistics. In 2011 he keynoted SECNAV’s 62nd Current Strategy Conference and became a Professor of Practice at the Naval Postgraduate School. In 2013 he began service on CNO’s new Advisory Board (CAB).
Dr. Daniel A. Nussbaum
Naval Postgraduate School
Principal, Energy Academic Group
Monterey CA 93943