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James Newcomb

Managing Director


James Newcomb Headshot

James Newcomb is a Managing Director at RMI, where he leads the Institute’s electricity practice. He is a writer, consultant, and scenario thinker with 25 years’ experience in managing cutting-edge research and advisory organizations.


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.


University of California, Berkeley, Energy and Resources Group       
B.A., ECONOMICS, cum laude, 1979
Harvard University

Selected Speeches and Presentations

U.S. Renewable Energy Outlook, Rocky Mountain New Energy Summit, Denver, CO, June 2010

Investment Opportunities in the Renewable Energy Sector, Socially Responsible Investor Basecamp, Denver, CO, May 2010

The Renewable Energy Future: Implications for Corporate Energy Managers, 17th Annual E SOURCE Corporate Energy Managers Roundtable, Boulder, CO, April 2010

Renewable Electricity Futures, NREL Electric Utility Executive Roundtable, Denver, CO, March 2010

Riding the Renewable Energy Wave: Global Investment Opportunities, CLSA Investors Forum, San Francisco, CA, March 2010

Economic and Jobs Impacts of Advanced Biofuels Production under EISA, Congressional briefings (Senate and House) and press conference, Washington, DC, February 2009

Panda’s Garden: Biofuels, Agriculture, and the Environment, road show presentations in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, June-July 2008
Outlook for Biofuels and Biotechnology, Principal Group, Des Moines, IA, June 2008

Spinning Straw into Gold: The Future of Biofuels and Industrial Biotechnology, Fidelity International, Hong Kong, June 2008

The Future of Industrial Biotechnology, plenary speech to Biotech Industry Organization (BIO) Annual Conference on Industrial Biotechnology, Chicago, IL, April 2008

Biofuels and the Future of Oil, Bio-era Executive Roundtable, January 2008, Houston, TX

Futures of the Wild, keynote presentation on scenario planning project led by Bio-era for the Annual Meeting of the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, April 2007

One World, One Health; The Threat of Emerging Diseases to Human Health, Agriculture and Conservation: Implications for Policy, Wildlife Conservation Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, November 2005

Business and Economic Implications of an Avian Influenza Pandemic, testimony before U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, November 2005

Selected Publications

Renewable Energy Project Financing: Impacts of the Financial Crisis and Federal Legislation, NREL Technical Report (TP-6A2-44930)



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