What happens when you meet your hero?

Posted on Posted in Low-carbon innovations, News

Amory Lovins has been arguing the case for efficiency-led system transformation for over 40 years. His landmark paper back in 1976 challenged the orthodoxy of ever-rising energy demand, and is summarised in Wikipedia thus: “Amory Lovins coined the term ‘soft energy path’ to describe an alternative future where energy efficiency and appropriate renewable energy sources steadily replace a centralized energy system based on fossil and nuclear fuels.” It seems amazing that the same basic argument for highly distributed efficiency and renewables substituting for highly centralised fossil and nuclear plants is even more relevant today as a way of accelerating low-carbon transformation. Lovins’ work and the think tank, Rocky Mountain Institute, which he co-founded has been a big influence on my own thinking and research since my PhD days in Canada. And when he came to give a public lecture at IIASA, I got to meet him and chat over dinner. The old adage about never meeting your hero? It’s not true!