Senator John Heinz

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The Heinz Awards

1998

Amory Lovins

Amory Lovins receives the Heinz Award in the Environment for his extraordinary accomplishments in alerting the world to the enormous potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

Chosen several years ago by the editors of The Wall Street Journal as one of the people most likely to change the face of world industry, Mr. Lovins is an environmental visionary. He is already credited with having done more than any other single individual to redefine the thinking around energy policy and to link it with environment, development and security issues. He, his wife Hunter, and the team of researchers at the resource policy center they co-founded in Snowmass, Colorado delight in challenging conventional wisdom by demonstrating advanced resource productivity that avoids depletion and pollution, and still shows a profit.

He has done original work of high intellectual merit and has popularized his work far better than anyone else in the field, aggressively moving his ideas into widespread practice, chiefly via the private sector.

It was evident early on that Amory Lovins had the makings of a genius. At age 21, after studying at Harvard and Oxford University, he became Oxford's youngest junior faculty member in 400 years. While there, he intended to pursue an interest in the details of energy policy, two years before the oil embargo put those issues on the world's agenda. When the university protested, he left.

Almost immediately, he set about redefining the energy debate, which, at the time, focused entirely on how more energy could be produced to meet an ever-growing demand. Mr. Lovins turned that challenge on its head by suggesting a radically different focus, not on getting more energy of any kind from any source at any price, but on providing just the amount, type, scale and source of energy that would provide each desired service in the cheapest way. That suggestion was challenged by many energy experts and greeted with derision by industry. But Mr. Lovins, frequently using his opponents' statistics against them, calmly continued to argue his case and to meet with, debate and inform utility executives, other industry leaders and policy makers. Many of them turned from critics into clients. As a result of his work, new methods were developed to allow utilities to profit from energy efficiency, methods that have been implemented in many areas around the United States. Even more significantly, the powerful new idea - that properly structured, sustainable, least-cost energy and resource options can be beneficial both to the environment and to industry - was introduced.

In 1982, Mr. Lovins expanded his work by establishing with his wife the Rocky Mountain Institute, a research and educational foundation. Today, the pair, along with a staff of more than 40, blaze new trails investigating efficiency issues and proposing solutions that, while they may spring from Mr. Lovins' boundless creativity, are firmly rooted in reality. One such solution currently engaging Mr. Lovins is the design of a "hypercar," an ultra-lightweight, hybrid-electric vehicle, now moving rapidly toward the marketplace. Not only would these vehicles save fuel and prevent pollution, but Mr. Lovins argues that by accelerating the introduction of fuel cell-powered versions, hypercars used as plug-in mobile generators could quickly and profitably displace today's coal and nuclear power plants.

Mr. Lovins has briefed heads of state, written and co-authored dozens of books and hundreds of papers, and served as an advisor to scores of boards, businesses and institutions. He argues that the U.S. can operate on a fourth of the energy it now uses, while still providing the same or better services. This may seem far-fetched, but Mr. Lovins has been accused of taking off on flights of fancy before. Together, both he and time both have a remarkable way of proving his assertions correct.

Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.


UPDATES SINCE RECEIVING THE HEINZ AWARD

October 2011 - Amory Lovins, the chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute and the author of influential books like Winning the Oil Endgame and Natural Capitalism, releases his latest book, Reinventing Fire, proposing methods to run an economy that's 158 percent larger by 2050 without any coal, oil, nuclear energy, or new inventions (and one-third less natural gas). - GreenBiz.com

April 2009 - Amory Lovins is named a recipient of the 10th National Design Awards (Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum) in recognition for his work at the nexus of energy, resources, environment, development and security in more than 50 countries for 40 years, including 14 years based in England. - 10th National Design Awards

November 2007 - For his "outstanding achievements in the field of energy efficiency," Lovins receives the Volvo Environment Prize at a ceremony in Stockholm. The prize ($235,390 USD) is awarded by an independent foundation, and the selection committee is comprised of internationally recognized scientists and researchers in the fields of economics and environmental studies. - Volvo Environment Prize

November 2007 - Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford appoints Lovins to a newly-formed Transformation Advisory Council designed to help advance Ford's sustainability initiatives. - U.S. Newswire

July 2007 - Lovins wins the Blue Planet prize for "for his contributions to leading global energy strategy for protection of the global environment by efficient utilization of energy." Sponsored by Japan's Asahi Glass Foundation, the environmental prize is worth $407,000 (USD). - The Blue Planet Prize

March 2007 - Lovins relinquishes CEO post at the Rocky Mountain Institute in order to focus on thought leadership, strategic influence, and high-impact special initiatives. These initiatives include leading the implementation of RMI's Pentagon-cosponsored roadmap, Winning the Oil Endgame, for getting the U.S. completely off oil by the 2040s, led by business for profit. Lovins now serves as chairman and chief scientist. - Rocky Mountain Institute

August 2005 - Lovins gives a talk in Bar Harbor, Maine based on his latest book, Winning the Oil Endgame. The speech outlines Lovins' energy policy ideas and includes his ideas for "combining innovative technologies and new business models with uncommon public policies" in an effort to thwart a business led oil solution rather than one dictated by the government. - The Press Herald

June 2005 - Lovins releases his latest article, "Security Meltdown." The article severely questions and discredits "Washington's wisdom to promote new nuclear plants through federal subsidies," and insists that nuclear construction is not a practical or viable way to deal with increasing climate change. - Energy Washington Week

Amory Lovins