Clean Energy Revolution ( Solar Thermal Magazine )
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Carbon War Room (CWR)—two leading nonprofits tackling climate change through market-based solutions—are aligning to catalyze an energy revolution that can unlock the greatest wealth-creating opportunity in modern history, the organizations announced earlier this month.
RMI and CWR will together leverage the agile power of markets to combat climate change, bolster economic prosperity, and tackle other social and environmental issues created by the global dependence on fossil fuels. The organizations’ alliance will multiply their respective impacts by jointly accelerating demand and financing for low-carbon solutions that are technically feasible and cost effective today.
“For the past five years, CWR has punched well above its weight, leveraging the creativity and convening power of fellow entrepreneurs to tackle climate challenge. By marrying Rocky Mountain Institute’s analytical rigor and energy-system expertise with CWR’s bold and agile entrepreneurial approach, together we can go further, faster,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Carbon War Room.
The merged organization will leverage their complementary DNA—market-based, independent, non-partisan—and the distinct strengths of each to accelerate businesses, markets, and industries to a tipping point where clean energy solutions develop unstoppable momentum.
“For more than 32 years, RMI had partnered with industry and business with significant successes in transforming energy use across the transportation, buildings, industrial, and electricity sectors,” said Amory Lovins, RMI co-founder, chief scientist, and chairman emeritus.
Now, we can capitalize on Carbon War Room’s proven ability to engage and excite corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and investors to rally around innovative ideas and take action.
Clean Energy Partnership
Current RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst will lead the alliance, while current CWR president José Maria Figueres will chair a single, combined Board of Trustees.
RMI and CWR’s first joint program, the Ten Island Challenge, launched earlier this year. It is laying the groundwork to shift Caribbean island energy systems from dependence on expensive, dirty imported diesel to economies powered by clean, efficient, and renewable sources. Already under way in six countries—Aruba, Colombia, the Bahamas, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Turks and Caicos—the Ten Island Challenge will also demonstrate that entire economies can adopt low-carbon solutions while boosting private investment, enhancing and diversifying the local job market, and opening greater socioeconomic development opportunities.
“Private-sector organizations like RMI and CWR have the independence and flexibility to convene the right players in the right markets,” Figueres said.
The real barrier is slow adoption rates, not inadequate technologies or lack of opportunities. The alliance can expand pockets of innovation and rapidly bring them to scale.
In addition to joint efforts in the Caribbean, RMI and CWR are also jointly working to mobilize impact in the following sectors:
Renewable, Distributed Electricity: Bringing clean, competitive distributed renewable energy solutions such as rooftop solar to scale through the development and implementation of markets that unleash untapped value for utilities, solar companies, technology providers, and customers
Freight and Trucking: Speeding fleetwide adoption of proven efficiency technologies for heavy trucks so that $40 billion in fuel costs go back to owners, 40 percent of which are “mom and pop” businesses
Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Rapidly expanding global markets, capital flows, and entrepreneurial activity in energy efficiency solutions for buildings, which account for nearly three-fourths of America’s electricity consumption
Shipping: Driving global adoption of a pioneering rating system for ships and ports, creating a global market for fuel-efficient ships
“With concentrations of atmospheric CO2 now above 400 ppm and climate effects reverberating across the globe, bold action to accelerate adoption of cost-competitive, low-carbon energy solutions is an urgent opportunity,” said Kortenhorst.
A clean, prosperous, and secure future is possible for all global citizens, but only if we act swiftly now. This strategic alliance positions RMI and CWR to catalyze tangible, industry-changing impact that truly transforms global energy use.
To learn more, please visit blog.rmi.org.