Virginia Lacy


Virginia Lacy is a former Principal with RMI’s electricity practice, where she leads research and collaboration work with electric utilities, corporations and government agencies to accelerate the clean energy transformation of the U.S. electricity sector. She has over 10 years of experience working across multiple dimensions in the electricity and clean energy space, including regulation, policy, operations, planning and finance.


Over the last several years, Virginia has led research and collaboration work focused on new utility business models, valuation of distributed energy resources and their integration into the grid, and resource and business strategy for electric utilities. She is a founder of RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab), a unique multi-year collaboration of electricity industry leaders to develop and test new solutions to enable greater adoption of distributed energy resources. Most recently, Virginia served as a strategic advisor to the NY Public Service Commission and NY Department of Public Service in the Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision (NY REV) initiative. She supported Commission staff and advised the NYPSC on electricity market reform, distributed resource valuation, rate design evolution, and performance-based regulation of utilities. She also led RMI’s DOE SunShot funded project, Innovative Solar Business Models, which partnered with key electricity sector actors to pilot-test new solar business models that recognize and create value for multiple stakeholders.

Virginia’s portfolio of work at RMI has also included research, analysis or quantitative modeling on a variety of topics including in the integration of variable renewables into the grid, fuel price volatility, energy commodities markets, and the financial valuation of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Select electricity sector partners have included Pacific Gas & Electric, Duke Energy, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii State Energy Office, Public Service of New Mexico, Silicon Valley Power, Invenergy, Great River Energy, and Northern California Power Agency.

Virginia has authored or coauthored several publications, including the electricity chapter of RMI’s book Reinventing Fire, which assessed the potential for an 80% renewable, 50% distributed U.S. electricity system by 2050. As part of that work, she led RMI’s analysis team that partnered with the National Renewable Energy Lab to use ReEDS, a long-term capacity-expansion model for the deployment of electric power generation technologies and transmission infrastructure throughout the contiguous United States.

In her graduate studies at Yale, Virginia focused in energy policy and investment and served as the co-coordinator of the Yale Climate Initiative, an ongoing effort to recommend and implement greenhouse gas mitigation strategies at the University. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, she was a research analyst with the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC), a socially responsible investment research firm, where she analyzed the environmental performance of S&P 1500 companies for some of the largest institutional investors in the U.S.


Masters of Environmental Management, Yale University, 2005

Bachelor of Arts, Government, University of Virginia, 1998


Boulder, CO

Authored Works

Reimagining the Utility

Electric utilities must modernize to serve new economic and policy objectives, including managing an increasingly distributed and decarbonized power system. A fundamental question for this future system is: What is the appropriate scope for utility functions (and associated earnings opportunities) versus those that should be provided by a competitive marketplace?…


Reinventing Fire: Electricity

Executive Summary Electricity is the connective tissue of the information age, powering everything from smartphones to giant data centers and enabling virtually every transaction in daily life. Electricity is the lifeblood of both buildings (72 percent) and industry (28 percent). The U.S. electricity system is the greatest engineering achievement of…


New York’s Next Steps in the REV-olution

It has been more than three years since Superstorm Sandy came ashore, creating massive storm flooding, gasoline shortages, and more than a week of power outages. Sandy’s devastation revealed critical gaps in New York’s utility infrastructure that inspired Governor Cuomo’s administration to launch New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)…


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…


Bridges to New Solar Business Models: Executive Summary

Over the past decade, distributed solar photovoltaics (DPV) have experienced unprecedented growth. DPV is now on track to achieve significant scale in many segments of the U.S. market. Yet, nationally, solar produces 0.2% of electricity generation, leaving much room for further growth. Distributed solar’s continued growth can and should play…


From Grid Defected to Grid Connected

RMI's Virginia Lacy talks with Sunverge vice president of products Steve Wolford about how grid-connected solar-plus-battery systems are already helping the grid’s ongoing transition to the electricity system of the future.


Electricity Distribution Grid Evaluator (EDGE) Model

This paper describes the Electricity Distribution Evaluator (EDGE) model, a MATLAB-based simulation tool developed by RMI and designed to comprehensively assess the DER value proposition in different regulatory and utility business model environments based on a detailed assessment of the technical and operational implications. Though designed to study an individual…