This profile was prepared when Amory B. Lovins was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Amory began presenting models of efficiency in engineering as a solution to the energy crisis in the early 1970s. His work turned the energy challenge on its head by suggesting a radically different focus: providing the amount, type, scale and source of energy that would provide desired services in the cheapest way, as opposed to getting the most energy from any source at any price. Amory argued for solutions that matched the scale of the problem, unlike nuclear power which he saw as a dangerous and unnecessary measure.From personally engineering a new ultra-efficient “Hypercar” as a model for the auto industry, to conducting landmark research on light bulb energy consumption, Amory has pioneered solutions that have become catalysts for change across countless industries. In all these efforts, he showed that properly structured, sustainable, least-cost energy and resource options can be beneficial both to the environment and to industry. By changing the incentive structures for government, corporations, and the community as a whole to implement efficient policies, RMI has been able to achieve major impact.Perhaps even more importantly, Amory has spread his work more widely than anyone else in the field. He has aggressively moved his ideas into widespread practice, primarily through the private sector, which was quite unprecedented. This ability to work with the so-called “enemy” was a strategy never before seen among green organizations. In fact, RMI has worked with over 80 Fortune 500 Companies, including Wal-Mart and Texas Instruments, lending RMI's innovative ideas a real-world muscle and large scale impact never before seen in the green movement.