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James Newcomb, Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute

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James Newcomb is Managing Director at Rocky Mountain Institute, where he co-founded RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab) and leads the institute’s electricity practice. His work on electricity system transformation includes work on renewables integration, new business models, and community energy planning. Previously, he served as group manager for markets, policy and impacts analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center, where he was part of the leadership team for NREL’s Renewable Electricity Futures Study. He was the founding president and CEO of E source, a leading provider of information on energy technology and services to electric and gas utilities and corporate energy managers. Earlier in his career, he led Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ natural gas practice, where he was managing director. He holds an M.A. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Economics from
 Harvard University.

Experience at the Distribution Edge:

  • My work as an energy analyst, writer and consultant over more than 25 years has included the following: Working with senior executive and board-level teams to develop and implement business strategies for delivery of integrated energy services, including efficiency, distributed generation and other services
  • Collaborating with regulators and policymakers to identify and implement policies that will encourage innovation in energy services delivery 
  • Analyzing how distributed resources can create value for customers and energy service providers and identifying business and regulatory strategies to tap that value.
  • Working with communities to understand the economic and social benefits of local energy solutions

Notable Project Experience and Areas of Content Expertise

  1. Successfully launched two start-up companies: E Source and Bio Economic Research Associates (bio-era).
  2. Part of leadership team for NREL’s Renewable Electricity Futures study and other analyses exploring high renewable electricity futures.
  3. Electric utility business models and pricing strategy.
  4. Behavioral economics and customer adoption.

Describe what you want to offer teams trying to Accelerate their projects:

  1. Strategic perspective to help structure project approaches.
  2. Network connections to people and organizations that may be able to assist the teams.
  3. Practical lessons from related projects.
  4. Inspiration, support and creative ideas.

What personally motivates you to work on issues at the Distribution Edge?

I am committed to advancing solutions that will lead to a cleaner and more secure electricity future. I also believe that this is an arena in which new, more collaborative ways to doing business hold the key. I am invested in making eLab a key resource to unlock the potential of distributed resources.

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