Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009

Amory Lovins

On cheaper energy
We can wring enormously more work out of our energy. We know how to save half of our oil and gas and three-quarters of our electricity at a cost that is a fraction of what we are paying now. We also know how to get off of oil and coal and switch to efficiency and renewables — that whole transition we call reinventing fire — and it's going to work better and cost less than the present arrangement.

On traditional power
It turns out that you don't actually need big power plants to run a big economy. The coal and nuclear plants that have served us so far are like steam locomotives: they were a great idea until something better came along.

On renewable energy
So, worldwide, last year, for the first time in almost a century, we actually invested more dollars building renewable sources of electricity than fossil-fuel sources. The U.S. is stuck at 6% because we have special rules to favor incumbent utilities and big plants. But I think we are recovering. In fact, in 2007 the U.S. actually added more wind power than it had added coal power in the previous five years. The revolution already happened. Sorry if you missed it.

On energy policy
The easiest way to get there at a policy level would be to have an economically conservative energy policy, in which all ways to produce energy get to compete fairly at honest prices, regardless of their type, technology, size, location or ownership. That's pretty much the opposite of the policy framework we have built up over the past half-century that just favors what technologies end up with the biggest campaign contributions.