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Jon Creyts

Managing Director

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  • China
  • Disruptive Technologies

Jon Creyts is a Managing Director at RMI, where he leads research and collaboration activities globally on Disruptive Technologies, is the founder and co-leader of RMI’s China Program, and manages RMI’s Business Renewables Center.  He brings over 25 years of strategy, operations and design experience to resource issues at the interface of markets and technology.

BACKGROUND

Jon is a recognized thought-leader on the business implications of climate change. Over the past two decades he has worked with the leadership teams of dozens of leading global companies and institutions, and briefed officials and committees at the highest levels of international, national and local government on practical solutions to the climate challenge. He has extensive experience in energy transition strategies, disruptive technologies (especially solar, storage, and blockchain), energy efficiency, and urban transformation.

In his time with RMI, Jon has helped lead and grow RMI’s global capacity for impact.  In 2013, he initiated the Reinventing Fire: China collaboration, working alongside some of China’s most senior energy leaders to craft a clean energy roadmap for the country.  That work helped inform U.S.-China climate negotiations and became an important reference for China’s national and regional planning processes. Based on the proven ability of RMI to support China in its energy transition, Jon helped found an office in Beijing, which now has active programs counseling on electricity reform, urban decarbonization, near-zero district development, and clean logistics and mobility.  Practical integration of these ideas is embodied in the recently published Carbon-Free City Handbook.

Jon has also worked to advance the understanding of the disruptive potential of emerging technologies.  RMI’s 2014 and 2015 reports on grid and load defection highlighted the emerging economics of combined batteries and solar. More recent work on blockchain has framed the transformative potential of that technology, which greatly reduces friction in physical and financial markets and could be a key enabler for a future distributed internet of energy.

Jon is a board member of both RMI’s joint venture Energy Web Foundation, which is creating a global open-source blockchain platform to support digital energy markets, and WattTime, which is a venture integrating real-time carbon emission tracking into business tools.  Jon is also a member of RMI’s Executive Council where he helps guide the overall direction of the Institute.

Prior to joining RMI, Jon was a partner with McKinsey and Company for 11 years.  There he helped found McKinsey’s sustainability practice and was a member of the global energy practice. Jon served clients extensively on issues related to operations, capital productivity, environmental management, and growth, focusing on the energy, industrial, and technology sectors. During his time at McKinsey, he co-authored the groundbreaking survey Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?, popularizing the use of the cost curve to visualize the economics of reducing carbon emissions. He was also a principal author of that report’s sequel, Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy, which explored the barriers and solutions to unlocking energy efficiency’s potential at-scale.

Before McKinsey, Jon worked as a designer in both the aerospace and power industries and is an alumnus of Lockheed Martin’s renowned Skunk Works aircraft prototyping facility.

EDUCATION

BS in Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1992)
MS in Mechanical Engineering, University of California – Berkeley (1998)
PhD in Mechanical Engineering, University of California – Berkeley (2000)

LOCATION

Basalt, CO

Authored Works
Outlet Blog Post

Understanding the Innovation Dividend of Clean Energy Investment

While current political discourse seems to focus on what divides us, there are many topics on which people from across the political spectrum seem to agree. One of these is the critical importance of innovation. Innovation can create jobs, bolster our economy, and improve our lives. In clean energy, regular…

Outlet Blog Post

Research Release: An Energy Roadmap for China

Late last week, China and the U.S. announced that they are formally joining the Paris agreement to combat climate change. Download our Reinventing Fire: China Executive Summary, the most sophisticated model of China’s energy use to date and a roadmap to slash carbon emissions and energy use by 2050, all at a net economic benefit.

Outlet Blog Post

Today’s U.S.-China Announcement is the Most Significant Milestone to Date for Battling Global Climate Change

Today’s joint announcement by President Obama and President Xi represents the second time in two years the leaders have met to make significant climate commitments. Last year’s meeting focused on setting aggressive goals that reflect each country’s unique situation. This year’s meeting moved decisively to implementation commitments intended to deliver…

insight

Bridges to New Solar Business Models

Utilities, solar companies, and regulators can design and implement components of solar business model strategies today that provide a bridge to the future. These “bridge” business model strategies—including three complementary “building blocks” and discrete next steps—can start to create and capture value, while also providing best practices and lessons learned…

Outlet Blog Post

Three Energy Gamechangers for China and the World

This decade China is set to regain the status it has held for 18 of the past 20 centuries: the world’s largest economy. A major engine of historic success was China’s inexorable drive to develop and deploy new technologies, far outpacing other civilizations. As Joseph Needham documented, and his student…

Outlet Blog Post

Caveat Investor

The electricity industry has been abuzz with talk of an impending death spiral brought on by distributed solar and, to a lesser extent, efficiency. The case is incomplete, but there is emerging evidence to suggest utility investors should proceed with caution.