Amory Lovins and President Jimmy Carter Were Also Wrong In Their Energy Predictions Too

In the Grist article by Amory Lovins: “stewart brands nuclear enthusiasm falls short on facts and logic”

In its first half-century, nuclear power fell short of its forecast capacity by about 12-fold in the U.S. and 30-fold worldwide, mainly because building it cost several-fold more than expected, straining or bankrupting its owners

This is referring to nuclear engineers around 1967, expected 2,000 GW nuclear by the year 2000 and Nixon called for the building of 1,000 nuclear reactors by the year 2000.

Yes, those predictions were wrong. Let us see how Amory Lovins and Jimmy Carter predictions/plans worked out. It turns out Amory and Jimmy Carter were wrong as well.

In 1976, Amory Lovins published in the journal Foreign Affairs in which he posited two future energy paths. Vaclav Smil, the energy scholar, notes that Lovins expected 750 millions of tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) of American energy to come from soft technologies by 2000. In fact, we only got 75 MTOE in 2000.

In 1976, Lovins forecast that renewables will supply 30% of US energy by 2000

Soft Energy according to Lovins on wikipedia: “soft energy technologies” such as solar energy, wind energy, biofuels, geothermal energy

in 1979, President Jimmy Carter held the first and only press conference on the White House roof. Atop the West Wing, he unveiled a $28,000 solar cell system that captured the sun’s energy to provide hot water for the White House. He also launched a sweeping drive aimed at harnessing the sun, the wind, and other renewable resources to generate 20% of America’s electricity by 2000.

Solar and Wind power generated less than 1% of america’s electricity by 2000.

Carter was only predicting 21 years into the future instead of 29 years for Nixon.