Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
About RMI - Essays 8 Items
Journal or Magazine Article, Letter, 2014
A May 2014 working paper by nonresident Brookings Institute fellow Dr. Charles Frank, highlighted in The Economist, claims that wind and solar power are the least, while nuclear power and combined-cycle gas generation are the most, cost-effective ways to displace coal-fired power. (He didn't assess efficiency.) This detailed twelve-page critique by RMI's Amory Lovins shows that those priorities are artifacts of Dr. Frank's obsolete data. Replacing nine of his wrong numbers with up-to-date empirical ones, even without correcting his methodology, reverses his priorities to the ones most energy experts would expect: after efficiency, the best buys are hydropower (on his purely economic assumptions), then windpower, photovoltaics, gas combined-cycle (assuming 1.5% methane leakage and medium price volatility—assuming zero price volatility would put gas ahead of solar), and last of all nuclear power. Dr. Frank argued that the way most investors pick power-sector investments—lowest long-run economic cost—is wrong, or at least incomplete, because different technologies generate power at different times, creating different amounts of value. He's right that value as well as cost should be considered. But interestingly, using correct data, the cost- and value-based calculations yield the same priorities, so adjusting for time of generation doesn't matter. Those priorities would probably be further reinforced (other than big and some small hydropower) if other kinds of hidden costs, risks, and benefits were also considered. The more obvious of Dr. Frank's data problems were assuming wind and solar power half as productive and twice as costly as they actually are, gas power twice as productive as it actually is but with no methane leakage or price volatility (let alone extractive side-effects of fracking), nuclear power at about half its actual cost and construction time and one-fifth its actual operating cost, a supposed need for new generating capacity and for bulk electricity storage, and no efficiency opportunities worth mentioning. His method of analyzing grid reliability was also unique and strange. These assumptions drove his unwarranted but, thanks to the Economist, widely publicized conclusions.
Dr. Frank argued that the way most investors pick power-sector investments—lowest long-run economic cost—is wrong, or at least incomplete, because different technologies generate power at different times, creating different amounts of value. He's right that value as well as cost should be considered. But interestingly, using correct data, the cost- and value-based calculations yield the same priorities, so adjusting for time of generation doesn't matter. Those priorities would probably be further reinforced (other than big and some small hydropower) if other kinds of hidden costs, risks, and benefits were also considered.
Journal or Magazine Article, Letter, 2014
Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.'s May 2014 Brookings Institution Working Paper claimed that new nuclear and gas-fired power plants can displace coal plants' carbon emissions far more cost-effectively than solar and windpower can. This claim was featured and endorsed in late July by a full-page "Free exchange" article in The Economist. Amory Lovins promptly rebutted Dr. Frank's paper in detail (www.rmi.org/frank_rebuttal). Three weeks later, an anonymous Economist writer posted a new essay called "New numbers, same conclusion" claiming that unpublished recalculations by Dr. Frank confirmed his original conclusions even if a few of the original errors asserted by Lovins were corrected to some unstated degree. This response by Lovins refutes that claim, describes 17 errors or misrepresentations in the new Economist essay, and encourages Dr. Frank to reply transparently and specifically to the original critique.
Amory Lovins' address to the 2nd Appalachian Leadership Summit and
University of North Carolina Energy Leadership Challenge
Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina, 17 July 2013.
Report or White Paper, 2011
Amory Lovins interwove themes about Applied Hope and Imagine a World in this commencement address to the University of California at Berkeley's Natural Sciences graduates on 15 May 2011.
Journal or Magazine Article, 2008
This article was written for RMI's 2008 Annual Report. In it, Amory Lovins outlines RMI's fundamental concept of "Applied Hope".
Fact-sheet or One-pager, 2007
This timeline covers the work that RMI has done from 1972 to 2007. It begins with Amory Lovins' early work on energy through RMI's staff work twenty-six years later.
Conference Proceedings, 2007
This speech was given by Amory Lovins at RMI's 25th anniversary celebration, RMI25, in 2007. In the speech, he outlines his vision of the world's future.
Report or White Paper, 1996
This classic publication describes some of RMI's founding principles through a story of parachuting cats into Borneo.