James Newcomb is a managing director with Rocky Mountain Institute’s electricity practice. He is a writer, consultant, and scenario thinker with more than 25 years’ experience in managing cutting-edge research and advisory organizations at the intersection of energy and environment. At RMI, his work has focused on electric utility business models, regulatory policy, renewables integration, and integrated community energy planning. He co-developed and led RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab) to speed the development and implementation of innovative solutions to the challenges of deploying and integrating increased shares of distributed resources on the electricity grid.
Prior to joining RMI, James served as group manager for markets, policy and impacts analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center. At NREL, James helped to lead the laboratory’s Renewable Electricity Futures study, which examined the technical, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities of delivering 80% of U.S. electricity supplies from renewable sources by 2050. In addition to leading the group’s ongoing research in renewable energy finance and policy analysis, he initiated new programs in behavioral economics and innovation.
Previously, as Managing Director and co-founder of Bio Economic Research Associates (bio-era), he led bio-era’s research on issues affecting the future of biological systems, energy, and the environment. Bio-era provided strategic consulting and advisory services in areas of biofuels, advanced biotechnology, and the business and economic impacts of emerging infectious diseases.
From 1992–2000, James was the founding president and CEO of E source, a for-profit subsidiary of RMI that provided information on energy technology and services to electric and gas utilities and corporate energy managers around the world. E source was sold to the Financial Times, a business unit of Pearson plc, for $18 million in 1999. Previously, he established and led the natural gas practice at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) a leading global oil and gas consultancy. Mr. Newcomb holds an M.A. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University.