Amory Lovins is the cofounder and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado. He is also author of Recreating Fire. On Monday June 23rd, Dr. Lovins was in Washington and gave a talk on the book and his message about weaning ourselves from fossil fuels.
According to Dr. Lovins, four-fifths of energy is fossil fuel based; three-quarters of oil goes to fuel vehicles; three-quarters of electricity is used by buildings. All of this can be reversed by 2050 with a savings to the economy of $5 trillion, growing the economy by 158%, with no subsidies and few policy changes. The needed policy changes are at the state level and administrative changes. The transition is being driven by the military and the private sector – not government.
Dr. Lovins offered several suggestions to assist the process that are contained in his book. However, he focused on the role of energy efficiency and the example of the savings from super windows when the Empire State Building was renovated. He also cited the government building in Denver that is historically protected but, with extensive updates, will be the most energy efficient building saving 70% of its energy costs with a payback in three years.
For those who still think China is lagging behind, Dr. Lovins reported that China has more energy from wind than nuclear, has added more solar last year than the US has in total, and solar will soon account for more than fossil fuels. In fact, solar is scaling faster than cell phones.
For more on Dr. Lovins’ ideas go to www.rmi.org