By external blogger Marty Pickett.

Rocky Mountain Institute recently launched Reinventing Fire at National Geographic's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era is the culmination of RMI's years of work and many months of research and data synthesis about energy efficiency and renewables and their feasibility for the four sectors that use fossil fuels: transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity.


At the event, RMI's Chief Scientist Amory Lovins outlined a path to a new energy era by 2050, one that relies on energy efficiency and renewables rather than fossil fuels yet costs $5 trillion less than today and offers a more competitive economy with greater opportunities for job creation and growth.

The business advantages of clean energy are within reach. An energy future free of fossil fuels is no longer a dream, it's a modern reality. The time is right to seize this opportunity.

Amory notes that "humans are inventing a new fire - not dug from below but flowing from above, not scarce but bountiful, not local but everywhere. This new fire is not transient but permanent…and grown in ways that sustain and endure."

Several takeaway lessons from Reinventing Fire include:

  • In 2050, a far more mobile economy can use no oil, saving $4T. Vehicles that have 125-240 mpg equivalent will use any mix of electricity, hydrogen or biofuels, but no vehicles will need to require oil.
  • Changing how we make electricity gets a lot easier if we need less of it. Over the next 40 years, buildings can triple energy productivity, saving $1.4 trillion net present value.
  • Different electricity futures have the same costs, but dramatically different levels of risk to our security, environment, and human health. Our risks are best managed if our distributed renewable supply lets us redesign the grid to islandable microgrids. This transformation would cost the same as other electricity futures, but it would maximise customer choice, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Amory reminds us all that our energy future is not fate, but choice. When asked what they are doing to "Reinvent Fire", attendees at the National Geographic event had some very inspiring answers.

Marty Pickett

Executive Director and General Counsel at Rocky Mountain Institute