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Best of Amory Lovins 104 Items

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Energy Efficiency: The Rest of the Iceberg

Journal or Magazine Article, 2015
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/Shell_Efficiency

In 2014, Shell commissioned Amory Lovins to write a paper for its book The Colors of Energy [www.shell.com/colours] commemorating the centenary of Shell’s Amsterdam Technical Centre, then to present its thesis at the ceremony, where it was warmly received. Its thesis: energy efficiency is a huge, cheap, often expanding-returns, and widely underestimated resource. The resulting risk: suppliers can run their supertanker into the iceberg of efficiency and sink without even knowing what they hit, because they weren’t properly tracking it and it wasn’t on their chart.

 

Micropower Database 2015

Guide, 2015
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/MicropowerDatabase

2015 Edition: The purpose of the micropower database is to present a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of the global capacity and electrical output of micropower (all renewables, except large hydro, and cogeneration), showing its development over time and documenting all data and assumptions. With minor exceptions, this information is based on bottom-up, transaction-by-transaction equipment counts reported by the relevant suppliers and operators, cross-checked against assessments by reputable governmental and intergovernmental technical agencies. For most technologies, historic data runs from 1990 through 2014. Available information includes installed capacity (GW) and electricity generation (TWh/y) per generating technology. The Micropower Database Methodology is also included in this ZIP-file. The Micropower Database Methodology is also included in this ZIP-file. For previous versions, please see the 2008 Micropower Database (RMI ID E05-04), the 2010 (May) Edition (RMI ID 2010-06), and the 2014 (July) Edition (RMI ID 2014-18).

 

The Iranian Window of Opportunity

Journal or Magazine Article, 2015
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/IransInvisibleOpportunity_RMIposting_30Sep2015

Iran's Invisible Opportunity for Energy and Security: Modern energy investments could sideline nuclear ambiguity. Amory Lovins's novel essay explains how helping and encouraging Iran to do what its key officials already want—harness its world-class resources of energy efficiency and renewables—could strengthen Iran's economy, security, global integration, political evolution, and international standing without compromising others' similar goals. Using the next 10–15+ years' severe restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities to expand modern energy technologies could further displace and discredit its failed nuclear power program,. That in turn could help disambiguate its nuclear activities and head off an incipient regional nuclear arms race, much as Argentina and Brazil did in the past three decades. It could also modernize the historically all-nuclear interpretation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Article IV (promising countries forgoing nuclear bombs access to exclusively peaceful nuclear energy) in light of its original purpose—secure and affordable energy for development—then aggressively meeting that legitimate need. This article expands a condensed version in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

 

Iran's Invisible Opportunity for Energy and Security: Modern energy investments could sideline nuclear ambiguity

Journal or Magazine Article, 2015
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/IransInvisibleOpportunity

Amory Lovins's novel essay explains how helping and encouraging Iran to do what its key officials already want—harness its world-class resources of energy efficiency and renewables—could strengthen Iran's economy, security, global integration, political evolution, and international standing without compromising others' similar goals. Using the next 10–15+ years' severe restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities to expand modern energy technologies could further displace and discredit its failed nuclear power program,. That in turn could help disambiguate its nuclear activities and head off an incipient regional nuclear arms race, much as Argentina and Brazil did in the past three decades. It could also modernize the historically all-nuclear interpretation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Article IV (promising countries forgoing nuclear bombs access to exclusively peaceful nuclear energy) in light of its original purpose—secure and affordable energy for development—then aggressively meeting that legitimate need.

This article expands a condensed version in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

 

How Opposite Energy Policies Turned 3/11 into a loss for Japan and a Win for Germany

Journal or Magazine Article, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-14_AsahiShimbunOpEd_finalEngl_annotated

To revitalize its economy and politics, Japan needs an efficiency-and-renewable-energy hiyaku that enables the new energy economy, not protects the old one. Japanese frogs jump too, says Bashō’s haiku “Furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto”. But we’re still waiting for mizu no oto.

 

Urgent Memo to Biotech Pioneers: Life is More Than a DNA Sequence

Journal or Magazine Article, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-17_UrgentMemotoBiotechPioneersLifeIsMoreThanADNASequence

Adapted and updated from the noted 1999 essay “A Tale of Two Botanies” (http://www.rmi.org/biotechnology/twobotanies.html) Amory Lovins’s Huffington Post invited commentary on some remarks by Dr. Craig Venter summarizes the limitations and risks of genomics, transgenics, and artificial life.

 

Micropower Database 2014 (July)

Guide, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-18_MicropowerDatabase

2014 (July) Edition: The purpose of the micropower database is to present a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of the global capacity and electrical output of micropower (all renewables, except large hydro, and cogeneration), showing its development over time and documenting all data and assumptions. With minor exceptions, this information is based on bottom-up, transaction-by-transaction equipment counts reported by the relevant suppliers and operators, cross-checked against assessments by reputable governmental and intergovernmental technical agencies. For most technologies, historic data runs from 1990 through 2013. Available information includes installed capacity (GW) and electricity generation (TWh/y) per generating technology. The Micropower Database Methodology is also included in this ZIP-file. For previous versions, please see the 2008 Micropower Database (RMI ID E05-04) and the 2010 (May) Edition (RMI ID 2010-06).

 

An initial critique of Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.’s working paper “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies,” summarized in The Economist as “Free exchange: Sun, wind and drain”

Journal or Magazine Article, Letter, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-21_Frank-Rebuttal

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.

 

Response to "J.P."'s column "New numbers, same conclusion"

Journal or Magazine Article, Letter, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-21-JP_Rebuttal

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' articles on Germany's energy transition

Journal or Magazine Article, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/www.rmi.org/germany_blogs

Please find below a collection of Amory Lovins' articles on Germany's energy transition, organized from new to old.

How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win For Germany (Forbes, June 2014)

Separating Fact from Fiction in Accounts of Germany's Renewables Revolution (RMI blog, August 2013)

Debunking the Renewables' Disinformation Campaign (RMI blog, July 2013)

Germany's Renewables Revolution (RMI blog, April 2013)

 

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