The Rocky Mountain Institute, an organization founded by famed physicist and “soft energy paths” theorist Amory B. Lovins and his wife L. Hunter Sheldon to partner with industry to innovate technologies to increase energy efficiency and help transition to a soft energy infrastructure. Lovins calls this strategy “institutional acupuncture,” as it is a matter of providing pressure at specific strategic points and particular times in order to help shift industry in new directions by showing it “what is possible and profitable.” RMI thus conducts long-term research and engineering programs to help industry be more innovative, to move in directions that are less conventional and linear, and that large firms wouldn’t ordinarily be inclined to pursue if RMI hadn’t lead the way in feasibility and cost-savings studies. RMI projects over the decades have focused on lightweight, Plug-In electric vehicles (the “Hypercar”), improving building efficiency, and developing solar and wind solutions.
RMI’s latest “grand synthesis” is a report, book, and initiative called “Reinventing Fire,” a plan that sees the U.S. transitioning off oil, coal, and nuclear power entirely by 2050 through a combined program of engineering efficiency, wind and solar generation, and the replacement of necessary liquid fuels (such as jet fuels) with large-scale, non-cropland biofuel projects.
See RMI’s website for more info.