The speed of disruptive innovation in the electricity sector has been outpacing regulatory and utility business model reform, which is why they now sometimes feel in conflict. That disruptive innovation is only accelerating.
Jon Creyts is a Managing Director at RMI, where he co-leads overall program activity and is personally responsible for RMI Ventures, a global collaboration focused on accelerating early stage climate solutions. He brings over 25 years of strategy, operations and design experience to resource issues at the interface of markets and technology.
Jon is a recognized global change leader focused on the clean energy transition. Over the past two decades he has worked extensively with officials at the highest levels of government, with leading global companies and institutions both individually and in consortia, spoken extensively, and continuously progressed the global dialogue 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 a reference for targets in China’s 13th Five Year Plan. 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 multiple publications in English and Mandarin, including the 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 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 distributed internet of energy. Jon also played key roles in the development and stewardship of RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab and Business Renewables Center (now the standalone Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance).
Jon’s current RMI Ventures activities focus on accelerating critical climate solutions to global scale. Working together with leading corporations, venture capitalists, and other NGO and government entities, he is building an innovation accelerator that uses an integrated ecosystem approach to tackle the significant commercialization gap that exists for startups between prototype and first customer. 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 and there helps guide the overall direction of the Institute.
Prior to joining RMI, Jon was a partner with McKinsey and Company for 11 years where he helped found McKinsey’s sustainability practice and was a member of the global energy practice. He 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 as a means to convey 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.
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)