Special virtual delivery by Amory Lovins and Andrew E. Huemmler
The electricity industry’s basic assumptions for 130 years—ever-rising demand, ever-bigger and hence -cheaper power plants, hence falling prices—have reversed. Electricity providers face at least eight simultaneous disruptors, on both the demand and supply sides, that will transform their technologies, institutions, finances, and business models beyond recognition. These forces include severalfold more efficient use of electricity, expanding returns to efficiency investments via integrative design (so bigger savings cost less), highly competitive distributed renewables, ubiquitous flexible loads, cost-effective storage (including competitive electric vehicles), major regulatory shifts, new customer preferences and societal values, and gamechanging business models. Such transformations don’t add; they multiply and exponentiate. Incumbents’ efforts to fight disruptors may actually strengthen them. Navigating these rapids presents an exciting opportunity for agile entrepreneurs, an extraordinary test of the industry’s leadership skills, and an opportunity to start turning power supplies from brittle to resilient.
Physicist Amory Lovins, 68, FRSA, is cofounder and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org); energy advisor to major firms and governments in 65+ countries for 40+ years; author of 31 books and 600 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. He has received the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, the MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the Happold, Benjamin Franklin, and Spencer Hutchens Medals, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood (“alternative Nobel”), National Design, and World Technology Awards. In 2016, the President of Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse). A Harvard and Oxford dropout, former Oxford don, honorary US architect, and Swedish engineering academician, he has taught at ten universities, most recently Stanford’s Engineering School and the Naval Postgraduate School (but only on topics he’s never studied, so as to retain beginner’s mind). He is a member of the U.S. National Petroleum Council and an advisor to the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations. Time has named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. His latest books include Natural Capitalism (1999, www.natcap.org), Small Is Profitable (2002, www.smallisprofitable.org), Winning the Oil Endgame (2004, www.oilendgame.com), The Essential Amory Lovins (2011), and Reinventing Fire (2011, www.reinventingfire.com). His main recent efforts include supporting RMI’s collaborative synthesis, for China’s National Development and Reform Commission, of an ambitious efficiency-and-renewables trajectory to inform the 13th Five Year Plan, and exploring how to make integrative design the new normal, so investments to energy efficiency can yield expanding rather than diminishing returns.
Andrew Huemmler, Senior Lecturer, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Dr. Huemmler worked for Exelon and its predecessor, PECO Energy, for 20 years. He started his career at PECO as an energy conservation analyst and finished at Exelon’s Power Team as a senior power transactor buying and selling electricity in wholesale power markets. He was a member of the New England Power Pool’s Transmission Operations Committee and participated in the rulemaking process which created electricity markets in the northeast U.S. Prior to joining PECO Energy, Andy worked in the City of Philadelphia’s Energy Office during Mayor William J. Green III’s administration. He authored an Energy Emergency Operations Plan for the City of Philadelphia and implemented the City’s first neighborhood-based energy education program. Early in his career, Andy worked for a small hydropower developer and the Philadelphia Water Department, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Queen Village Neighbors Association for eight years and served as a Democratic committeeman in Philadelphia’s 2nd Ward. Currently he is the President of the Board of Directors of the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia, the long-time leader in providing community-based energy efficiency services and assistance to low-income families.