Rocky Mountain Institute + Carbon War Room = Climate Hawk All Star Team

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Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room are today announcing that they are joining forces in order to even more effectively move forward climate and pollution solutions across the world. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to speak with the current CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Jules Kortenhorst, about the new “strategic alliance,” where it originated, and how it will help society. Below is a mixture of information I received via email and via my call with Jules.

Jules KortenhorstRocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Carbon War Room (CWR) have both been heavily involved with a “market-based transformation” of the energy system that will result in a safe and stable climate for current and future generations. But they have been involved in slightly different ways. The partnership began at the beginning of this year when RMI & CWR began partnering on the Ten Island Challenge project, Jules told me.

We just wrote about the Ten Island Challenge two days ago, so I assume you are up to date with that, but if not, it is basically an effort whereby these two organizations have been working to help Caribbean island economies transition to a cleaner energy world, “from a heavy dependence on fossil fuels to renewable resources.” Carbon War Room writes: “Through the Ten Island Challenge, Carbon War room and Rocky Mountain Institute identify the technical and commercial solutions that can facilitate low-carbon energy use in the Caribbean.”

The project has been going very well and made RMI and CWR realize that they could leverage each others strengths in such a way on many topics. Already, “both organizations are deeply committed to a transition to a sustainable energy system based on a market-based system.” They are also distinctly nonpartisan and independent. But RMI brings more of the research expertise and CWR more of the entrepreneurial and finance side.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Carbon War Room, said: “For the past five years, CWR has punched well above its weight, leveraging the creativity and convening power of fellow entrepreneurs to solve the 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.”

“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.”


On our call, Jules said something that I try to emphasize on a daily basis: “If you think about the energy revolution we’re in the middle of, we don’t need more technical solutions, we just need to deploy the solutions we currently have.” It’s wonderful that these two organizations “get” this, but it’s even more wonderful that they have such good resources to bring to the table in order to help get these solutions implemented in more places.

“Now is the time for these two organizations to work together to work on scaling the deployment of these ideas that RMI has been working on for decades across the globe.”

“Private-sector organizations like RMI and CWR have the independence and flexibility to convene the right players in the right markets,” CWR president José Maria Figueres — who will chair a single, combined Board of Trustees — added. “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.”

Aside from the Ten Island Challenge, RMI & CWR will now jointly be working in the following sectors, the email I received noted:

  • 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: 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

I asked Jules about challenges he thought this partnership might bring. He said: “The challenge is obviously how to scale to meet the opportunity…. Our real challenge is how are we going to scale our capability fast enough to meet our capabilities.”

Over 125 people are now working together in the joint alliance.

Read more  or  here on CleanTechnica.

Learn more about their new alliance on the RMI blog:

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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