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Lena Hansen

Managing Director


  • China

Lena Hansen is a Managing Director with Rocky Mountain Institute’s electricity practice, where she focuses on new utility pricing and business models and the integration of distributed energy resources into the electricity system. She co-developed and leads RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab), a unique multi-year collaboration of leading industry actors to develop, implement, and spread new solutions to enable greater adoption of economic distributed energy resources. Highlights of Lena’s work with eLab have included a partnership with Fort Collins Utilities leading to a City Council decision to plan for an 80% carbon reduction by 2030; eLab Accelerator that convened 12 leading teams from around the country to accelerate their work; and an on-going partnership with the New York Department of Public Service to re-envision utility regulation.

Lena coauthored the electricity chapter of RMI’s 2011 book Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for a New Energy Era, which assessed the potential for an 80% renewable, 50% distributed U.S. electricity system by 2050. She has led research and collaboration work focused on new utility business models, valuation of distributed energy resources and their integration into the grid, and resource and business strategy for electric utilities. Select collaboration electricity sector partners have included the New York Department of Public Service, PG&E, Duke Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, and Fort Collins Utilities.


Previous work at RMI has included industry collaboration work with manufacturing, fuel, and high-tech industries to develop engineering and management design strategies to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability performance. She has conducted research focused on high-penetration variable renewable integration, and has worked to assess biofuels resource potential, develop programs to accelerate development of a state biofuels industry, and conduct an expert design review of the biochemical cellulosic ethanol conversion process. Select collaboration partners have included Walmart, Rio Tinto, BP, Irving Oil, the State of Hawaii, the State of Connecticut, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Before joining RMI, Lena worked with the Alaska Center for the Environment and the Western North Carolina Alliance, where she focused on transit planning and education. She organized “Creating a Sustainable Energy Future: A Duke University Leadership Forum,” a nationally recognized forum to begin a dialogue on the future of energy in the United States. The Forum resulted in the development of a graduate-level multi-disciplinary curriculum focused on energy at Duke University.


Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program (2008)
Master of Environmental Management in Economics & Policy, Duke University (2004)
Certificate in Energy & Environment, Duke University (2004)
Bachelor of Arts in Physics, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (2001)





Authored Works
Outlet Blog Post

New York’s Next Steps in the REV-olution

It has been more than three years since Superstorm Sandy came ashore, creating massive storm flooding, gasoline shortages, and more than a week of power outages. Sandy’s devastation revealed critical gaps in New York’s utility infrastructure that inspired Governor Cuomo’s administration to launch New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)…


Transactive Energy

The session explored how platforms can enable value exchange of distributed energy resources, both vertically to the distribution and bulk power system, as well as horizontally through bilateral transactions from distributed resources.


A Review of Solar PV Benefit and Cost Studies

This discussion document reviews 15 distributed photovoltaic (DPV) benefit/cost studies by utilities, national labs, and other organizations to determine what is known and unknown about the categorization, methodological best practices, and gaps around the benefits and costs of DPV.  It also begins to establish a clear foundation from which additional…

Outlet Blog Post

Introducing the Electricity Innovation Lab

In RMI’s recent book, Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for a New Energy Era, we suggest it’s possible to transform the U.S. electricity system over the next 40 years to one that is clean, secure, and customer-centric, all while not sacrificing affordability or reliability.

Outlet Blog Post

How Your Company Can Benefit From the Evolution of Energy

This was originally published at on March 5 as the final installment in a five-part series by RMI professionals on how to put into practice the ideas of Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for a New Energy Era.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Environmentally Beneficial Load Building: Implications on California’s Revenue Adjustment Mechanism

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are poised to allow, for the first time, large-scale interaction between the transportation and electric utility sectors. Electricity is a more efficient vehicle fuel than are liquid fossil fuels, and it can reduce system-wide greenhouse-gas emissions by transferring energy demand and emissions from the transportation to…


Spatial and Temporal Interactions of Solar and Wind Resources in the Next Generation Utility

The “next generation” electric utility must incorporate variable renewable resources, including wind and solar, in much larger quantities than conventionally thought possible. While resource variability presents a challenge, it should be possible to reduce and manage that variability by geographically distributing renewables, combining them with different renewables, and having more…