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Reinventing Fire:  Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era Amory B Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute
White River Junction, VT:  Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011
ISBN 978-1-603583718

http://rmi.org/...

Reinventing Fire makes the business case for a new, cleaner energy regimen.  It's all about

How you can win by eliminating your energy operating costs - before your competitors do...

What is most interesting to me is that RMI projects the US as needing 150 quadrillion BTU by 2050 while most other energy forecasts see 300 quads or more.  As Amory Lovins was correct in a similar projection back in the 1970s, a 100 quad economy in the US by 2000, which is around where we still are, rather than the 200 quad and better economies the usual suspects were graphing, I suspect his crystal ball is clearer.

Secondarily, many of the suggestions for energy savings and higher efficiencies that Lovins and the RMI team advise use present technologies.  There is a great deal that can be done with diligence and a recognition of systems efficiencies (exergy, exergy, exergy) if ever we decide to do it.

Making these energy changes - and thus getting the needed emissions reductions - quickly enough is a challenge.  But it is manageable, just as it was in 1977-1985 when U.S. oil intensity fell 5.2% per year.  Today, based on standard economic-growth and decarbonization forecasts, cutting global energy intensity (primary energy used per dollar of real GDP) by about 3-4% a year, versus the historic 1%, could more than offset net carbon growth and rapidly abate further climate damage.  This looks feasible.  The U. S. has long achieved annual intensity reduction s of 2-4% without national focus or concerted effort, while China achieved more than 5% for a quarter century through 2001 and 405% in the past few years.  Some firms have even achieved 6-16%.  So why should 3-4% be hard - especially when most of the growth is in countries like China and India that can make their new infrastructure efficient the first time rather than fixing it later as we must do?  And since virtually everyone who does energy efficiency makes money at it, why should this be costly?

Sustained effort pays off.  Using figures from before the Great Recession of the late 2000s to avoid distortions, in 1990-2006.  California shrank greenhouse-gas emissions per dollar of GDP by 30%.  IN 1980-2006, Denmark shrank its energy intensity 39% and its carbon intensity 50%, made its electricity 28% renewable and three-fourths micropower, and created a world-class renewables industry.  Now it's heading for 100% renewable energy to enhance its economy and security.

I also like the way the book is organized with four sections that focus on major portions of the economy.  Each one is analyzed in terms of

Goal
Business Opportunity
Bottomline
Business Sector Profit
Policy:  no regrets, opportunistic, and innovative

Infographic that hits the main points
http://rmi.org/...

Transportation:  by 2050, three fourths less fuel and lifecycle costs in all vehicles while providing 90% more auto, 118% more truck, and 61% more airplane miles.
Policy suggestions for vehicle makers and suppliers, fuel providers, fleet and private vehicle owners and operators, government and ngos

Buildings: by 2050, use 54%-69% less (38% using presently available techniques), 16-31% from integrative design while providing a 70% larger building stock.
Policy suggestions for owners, investors, and users; utilities, service providers, and product suppliers, government and ngos

Industry (Manufacturing):  by 2050, save 27% of primary energy used (beyond savings already forecast) with presently known technology, other savings through
integrative design, even more with possible new materials.
Policy suggestions for customers, plant owners and managers, government and ngos

Electricity:  By 2050, 80% of US energy from renewables, on road to possible 100%, eliminating fossil fuels.
Policy suggestions for individual customers, non-utility businesses, utilities, regulators [government and ngos]

Poll

150 quad future?

60%3 votes
20%1 votes
0%0 votes
20%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 5 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It is an extremely good book ... (8+ / 0-)

    On multiple levels. The introduction is something that, well, I would like to see every single citizen read and contemplate.

    Having said that, there are some serious gaps / weaknesses / etc ...

    1. This remains within a love-affair with the automobile and doesn't really provide serious paths to reduce automobile dependency.  It assumes, in many ways, 'efficiency' as a path to avoid having to deal with consumption / life-style.

    2. No discussion of the power of electrified rail.

    Etc ...

    Truly excellent, enjoyable and informative read ... with some serious challenges/gaps.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 07:12:15 PM PST

    •  Drawbacks (4+ / 0-)

      They also talk about removing all subsidies from all forms of energy while at the same time advising some subsidies for renewables and efficiency.

      Amory and RMI are both optimistic and somewhat conventional in terms of the future they present.  Still, a very good thought experiment.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

      by gmoke on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 07:18:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bottom line question is growth (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmoke, RunawayRose, SolarMom

        Perhaps the numbers quoted below don't represent a lot of growth considering the current trajectory in developing countries, but it may be optimistic to envision sustaining double the current vehicle miles per year, even with very large efficiency improvements.

        Transportation:  by 2050, three fourths less fuel and lifecycle costs in all vehicles while providing 90% more auto, 118% more truck, and 61% more airplane miles.

        We shall not participate in our own destruction.

        by James Wells on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 07:25:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Book is totally on my list to read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmoke, RunawayRose

    One note about energy intensity reductions - too lazy to go find a reference but I understand that energy intensity reductions YOY will tend to be greater in less developed and industrializing countries.  So it may appear that China is achieving more improvement in energy efficiency but it is more an result of where they are on the development curve.

    But it is manageable, just as it was in 1977-1985 when U.S. oil intensity fell 5.2% per year.  Today, based on standard economic-growth and decarbonization forecasts, cutting global energy intensity (primary energy used per dollar of real GDP) by about 3-4% a year, versus the historic 1%, could more than offset net carbon growth and rapidly abate further climate damage.  This looks feasible.  The U. S. has long achieved annual intensity reduction s of 2-4% without national focus or concerted effort, while China achieved more than 5% for a quarter century through 2001 and 405% in the past few years.

    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 07:12:22 PM PST

  •  Government Is Utterly Unable to Address Climate. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmoke

    This is the way to move forward, going to ownership.

    It could take us half a century, it could take us a thousand years to devise a safe and responsible system of government. There's no prayer of doing it in time for the climate issue.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 07:29:24 PM PST

    •  Portugal (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, DeminNewJ, RunawayRose

      Portugal has made a significant shift to renewables in the space of five years.  We could do the same.  With some ecological systems thinking, we might be able to do even more.

      Of course, the current public discourse does not support any possibility of talking about these possibilities.  However, this is not necessarily public discourse and we don't have to be limited by the dominant stupidity.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

      by gmoke on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 07:49:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you guys may be discounting... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      ...the role of cities and states.  

      The federal government does some below the radar stuff (DOE grants and projects, EPA rules not aimed at climate but helping).

      But states and cities are the real climate leaders, with renewable portfolio standards, building efficiency efforts, transit, etc.

      Nevertheless I agree there's a lot of hope in the RMI prescriptions.  Sustainability is catching on and companies are realizing it helps their bottom line.

      This book is definitely on my list.

      “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

      by SolarMom on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 08:28:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and recc'd, gmoke. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmoke, SolarMom, James Wells

    We need to give diaries like yours a lot more visibility. There are quite a few things each person can change to reduce their environmental footprint, but are not disseminated widely enough. Thanks for the heads up.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 09:48:03 AM PST

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