all staff

thomas headshot

Thomas Koch Blank

Senior Principal
  • Climate Aligned Industries

Thomas is an engineer by education, trained in operations and drilled in business acumen at McKinsey & Company. He built the very first ‘McKinsey Marginal Abatement Cost Curve’ in 2005 and spent the following 8 years building what would become a full scale Practice (business area) around Sustainability and Resource Productivity. Thomas brings broad cross-sector insight in Energy and Climate related opportunities and extensive experience from on-site work with industrial facilities to improve productivity of energy, carbon and other resources, through 100+ site visits globally.


Prior to joining RMI, Thomas spent the majority of his professional career at McKinsey & Company, where he launched and built up the Sustainability Practice together with a small core leadership team, through entrepreneurial leadership and by spearheading new methodologies and developing expertise. His expertise has been built together with clients, applied to specific industrial facilities. The primary focus of his work has been on energy intensive industry, metal processing and mining in particular.

Examples of relevant projects:
Metal processing clean sheet redesign – Europe
Integrated Energy Strategy program (sourcing, operations, system design) – Europe
Yield optimization of chemical plant – Middle East

Big Data-based optimization of mineral processing plant – Central Africa
Establishment of annual sustainability conference for 10 top global mining companies
Numerous on-site energy efficiency diagnostics of industrial manufacturing sites (e.g., steel, cement, chemicals and pharma, dairy)

Selected roles as senior advisor to large sustainability strategies:
Sustainability Strategy for Kazakhstan
Energy Strategy for Singapore


MSc in Engineering Physics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (2003)

Russian Language and Culture, State University of St Petersburg (2001)

L3 qualifications in Resource Productive Operations at McKinsey & Company


Boulder, CO



Authored Works

Progress and Potential for Community-Scale Solar

A growing number of electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are capturing the economic, grid, and environmental benefits from community-scale solar (CSS) installations as institutional barriers to development are addressed for this emerging technology solution, according to a new report by Rocky Mountain Institute.


Community-Scale Solar Is on the Fast Track to Grid Parity

Will 2018 be the year when solar power reaches so-called grid parity, providing a cost of energy over its operating life that is equal to or less than the cost of energy from existing conventional energy sources? This levelized cost of energy (LCOE) comparison informs new grid investments and, as…


Solar Embrace

More than a year ago, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) announced its Shine Program would focus on community-scale solar. We claimed that community-scale solar could be procured at costs close to utility-scale solar, unlocking a 5–30 GW market by 2020. However, we could not have predicted the success of our initial…


The World Needs a Radical Change in Both Supply and Demand to Reach Paris Agreement

The climate agreement reached in Paris was an unprecedented global achievement. Unfortunately, the climate action plans submitted by the signatory countries fall far short of the energy shift the world needs. Recently released reports by the Energy Transitions Commission highlight what needs to be done to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C and elaborate on pathways for how to go about doing it.


The Many Flavors of Community-Scale Solar

Community-scale solar has the potential to become the next market segment to present a real gigawatt-scale growth opportunity, as outlined in RMI’s recent insight brief. So far, the growth of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the U.S. has been concentrated in two markets. One is residential rooftop solar, which is…