James Sherwood is a Sr. Associate with RMI's Electricity Practice, where he works to facilitate the integration of renewables into the electric grid and to develop new utility business models. James joined RMI in September 2012.
James joined RMI having completed his graduate work at Stanford University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Atmosphere/Energy program, focused on power systems. A 2011 M.A.P. Renewable Energy Fellow with RMI, James has concentrated his efforts on driving increased adoption of renewable energy and ensuring its integration into the grid. His broader interests include energy efficiency strategies, innovative rate design, land use planning, and sustainable mobility. While studying energy management and design in the Environmental Studies and Planning program at Sonoma State University, he served as research assistant on projects studying grid integration of renewables and land use changes in Latin America, and has worked as a GIS analyst studying the habitats of endangered species in Northern California. At RMI, he strives to transform the way that the world thinks about and uses energy toward an environmentally sustainable future.
- Master of Science, Civil & Environmental Engineering—Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University, 2012
- Bachelor of Science, Environmental Studies & Planning—Energy Management & Design Program, Minor in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude, Sonoma State University, 2010
Innovative Solar Business Models - To ensure sustained growth toward a distributed energy future, it is critical to demonstrate and optimize its value proposition to utilities, customers and regulators alike. To do so, RMI partnered with the DOE SunShot Initiative to investigate innovative business model approaches that align the interests of utilities, technology providers, regulators and customers. Within the project, RMI has developed partnerships with two utilities to practically test project hypotheses and new concepts in contrasting utility business models and regulatory environments. To support these engagements, James led RMI’s efforts to work with our utility partners to analyze the benefits and costs of distributed PV. James was RMI’s lead modeler in developing the Electricity Distribution Grid Evaluator (EDGE) model, a MATLAB-based simulation tool. The primary goal of the EDGE model is to provide clearer insights into the distributed PV value proposition (and eventually complementary technologies such as distributed storage, smart inverters, etc.) to inform more-effective decision making by utilities, customers, regulators, and developers, who can incorporate those insights into robust business models.
Electric Utility Client Work - On behalf of PG&E, RMI organized and facilitated a roundtable of experts to evaluate the potential implications for the California utility and its customers of a future business environment characterized by high levels of customer energy efficiency, growing numbers of zero net energy buildings, and increased adoption of distributed generation by utility customers. James worked to help characterize the past, present, and future states of California’s electricity system—in terms of policy, regulation, and development—and to outline both the challenges posed by this future business environment, and potential paths forward.
eLab - RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab) is a state-of-the-art forum for collaborative innovation working to accelerate the transformation of the U.S. electricity system to a more efficient, renewable, and affordable future. While working on this multi-year endeavor, James has helped to model the financial impacts of alternative utility business strategies and rate structures, and to develop clarity around methodologies for appropriately valuing distributed energy resources, creating transparency by developing ways to appropriately unbundle services and prices.