Eric Wanless

Senior Principal
  • Africa Energy Program
  • Empowering Clean Economies

Eric cofounded and leads Rocky Mountain Institute’s Africa Energy Program focused on ensuring investment in the energy sector delivers on the promise of economic development. He has collaborated with governments, utilities, and the private sector across Africa as well as in the United States and China to develop actionable programs to improve the reliability, economics, and environmental impact of energy systems and to accelerate deployment of off-grid solutions and distributed energy resources.


Before joining RMI, Eric worked with the Research and Policy group at Engie (formerly Ecova) where he led efforts to identify, quantify, and pursue significant cost-effective energy savings in computers and other IT equipment. These efforts leveraged deep engineering teardowns, analysis, and energy policy expertise to create more aggressive voluntary and mandatory energy efficiency standards on state, federal, and international levels.

Eric has also worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council implementing collaborative energy efficiency policy in California and as a senior field instructor teaching leadership and communication in the world’s most remote environments with the National Outdoor Leadership School.


Master of Science in Energy Engineering, Stanford University Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
MAP Sustainable Energy Fellow, 2005, 2006 LEED Accredited Professional


Basalt, CO

Authored Works
Outlet Blog Post

Achievements and Challenges of Uganda’s Power Sector

In 2005, Uganda descended into a power crisis that changed energy planning mindsets forever. A sharp decline in hydropower generation output, partly blamed on prolonged droughts that affected water levels in Lake Victoria along with delayed capacity additions, meant that electricity demand was double the available supply. This…


Creating a Profitable Balance

More than 600 million people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to reliable electricity, creating significant cost for homes, businesses, and utilities. Understandably, this has translated into aggressive national installed capacity targets, with nations across East and West Africa aiming for increases of between 1.3 and eight times by 2020. Our…

Outlet Blog Post

Growing the Minigrid Market in Sub-Saharan Africa

Download the report Energy Within Reach: Growing the Minigrid Market in sub-Saharan Africa here. Businesses lining the rusty red dirt road of the commercial thoroughfare of Segbwema in Sierra Leone (pronounced shuh-BOY-ma) sell cold Coca-Cola and local ginger ale, their dry goods in the front of…