Skip to:

Mark C. Thurber

Mark C. Thurber, PhD

Associate Director for Research

Program on Energy and Sustainable Development
616 Serra St.
Encina Hall E412
Stanford, CA 94305

(650) 724-9709 (voice)
(650) 724-1717 (fax)

Research Interests

Diffusion of central and distributed energy technologies; Reform of state-owned enterprises in energy; Business models of energy provision to the very poor.


Mark C. Thurber is Associate Director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at Stanford University. The Program studies how policy and regulation intersect with business strategy, economics, and technology to determine global patterns of energy production and use (and the associated health, climate, and local environmental impacts).

Dr. Thurber directs the research at PESD on how energy services can more effectively be delivered to low-income populations. He has written several academic articles on how design, demographic, and distribution factors affect uptake and usage of improved biomass stoves in India. Current research explores entrepreneurial efforts to provide solar home systems to households in East Africa.

Dr. Thurber also studies the role of state-owned enterprises in the most important energy markets around the world. He co-edited and contributed to a major volume on national oil companies, Oil and Governance: State-owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply. He is currently editing a book manuscript on the emerging global market for coal.

Along with Frank Wolak, Dr. Thurber teaches a course on “Energy Markets and Policy” in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. In this course, Thurber and Wolak run a classroom simulation of California’s electricity market under cap and trade. With the support of the Precourt Institute for Energy and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, they are expanding this simulation to incorporate renewable energy policies and various carbon market design features.

Dr. Thurber holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering (Thermosciences) and a B.S.E. from Princeton University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before coming to PESD, Mark worked in high-tech industry, focusing on manufacturing operations in Mexico (where he lived for several years), China, and Malaysia.