The renewable energy sector has been witnessing a flurry of activity with the government’s increased focus on its development. The industry today has a large number of players, both domestic and international, along with an extensive manufacturing base and supply chain. A number of new players have entered this market, resulting in a greater demand for experienced management personnel. The industry is, therefore, witnessing a high churn while also attracting people from diverse backgrounds. The year 2017 also witnessed some key changes in top government positions, including the appointment of a new minister to steer the sector.
Renewable Watch takes a look at the key movements in the renewable energy sector over the past year…
Raj Kumar Singh assumed independent charge of the Ministry of Power (MoP), and New and Renewable Energy on September 5, 2017. He replaced Piyush Goyal, who was handling the ministries of power, coal, mines, and new and renewable energy. Goyal was elevated to cabinet rank and appointed minister of railways. He continues to be minister of coal.
Singh served with the Indian Police Service for a year before joining the IAS in the Bihar cadre in 1975. He is a member of Parliament from Arrah, Bihar, as well as a member of the parliamentary standing committees on health and family welfare, personnel, pensions and public grievances, and law and justice.
He has served in the government in multiple roles including secretary, Department of Defence Production from 2009 to 2011. During this tenure, production from the ordnance factories, defence shipyards and other defence manufacturing facilities reportedly touched record levels. Earlier, in Bihar, he served as principal secretary, Road Construction Department, from 2006 to 2009 and is credited with having transformed the road network to one of the best in the country. From 2000 to 2005, he was joint secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, and is known for his contribution to schemes for police modernisation and prison modernisation, and for laying down a framework for disaster management.
Singh has a bachelor’s in English from St Stephen’s College, Delhi, as well as a bachelor’s in law. He later went on to study at RVB Delft University in the Netherlands.
In June 2017, following a bureaucratic reshuffle, Anand Kumar, managing director (MD), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), was appointed secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Rajeev Kapoor, former secretary, MNRE, moved to the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.
Kumar is a 1984 batch IAS officer from the Kerala cadre. He has an M.Phil from Delhi University and an MBA from the University of Queensland, Australia. After starting his career as assistant collector in his home cadre, he held many important positions, including special officer and additional director, tourism; secretary, finance, Government of Kerala; and under secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport, and Commerce and Industries. He also served as deputy election commissioner in the Election Commission of India and conducted the landmark Bihar Legislative Assembly elections in 2005. He was appointed chief technical adviser for the Nigerian General Elections in 2007 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He served UNDP, Nigeria, from 2006 to 2008. Prior to joining NHIDCL, of which he was the founding MD, he served as joint secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, where he is credited with several award-winning campaigns for promoting tourism.
Ravindra Kumar Verma is chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), as well as member, grid operation and distribution, CEA. He has nearly 38 years of experience, working in different capacities in the organisation.
As chairperson, CEA, he is responsible for the formulation of the national power policy and plans, integrated resource planning and optimisation of resource utilisation, policies for safe, secure and economic operation of the regional and national grids, techno-economic evaluation of power projects, renovation and modernisation schemes, investigation of accidents on electrical installations, environmental aspects of generation projects, monitoring of rural electrification, etc. He has been associated with various committees including those for the development of the Indian Electricity Grid Code and the Electricity Act, and the formulation of various government schemes.
An electrical engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering, Verma later passed the Combined Engineering Services Examination conducted by the UPSC for the prestigious Central Power Engineering Services in 1979. He joined the CEA in 1981.
In May 2017, Jatindra Nath Swain was appointed joint secretary, MNRE, for a period of five years or until further orders. He replaced Santosh D. Vaidya. Swain was also recently given interim charge as MD, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). A 1988 batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, Swain was earlier serving as commissioner in the Survey and Settlement Department.
Sunil Wadhwa, MD, GE T&D India
Wadhwa has over 31 years of experience in business operations, project management, finance and corporate governance. He joined the IL&FS Group in 2012 after a quarter of a century with the Tatas, where his last assignment was as MD of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL). Wadhwa’s 25-year-long innings with the Tata Group began in 1986 as chief financial officer (CFO) of Hitech Drilling Service India Limited, a joint venture of Tata Industries and Schlumberger of France, in the oil and gas drilling business. During his 10-year tenure with TPDDL, the company received several awards including for the Best Utility of Asia, the Thomas Edison Award for Use of Technology in the Power Business, and the Hall of Fame recognition for balanced scorecard implementation from Dr Robert Kaplan. The company reduced its AT&C losses from 58 per cent to around 10 per cent during his tenure.
At an individual level, Wadhwa was adjudged the most inspirational chief executive officer (CEO) in the power sector across Asia by Asia Power (Singapore) for the year 2008.
Azure Power appointed Sushil Bhagat, former CFO of Hindustan Power Projects, as its new CFO in October 2017. A former investment banker with over 30 years of experience, Bhagat raised over $12 billion of funds and led advisory, and merger and acquisition assignments across infrastructure sectors. At Hindustan Power Projects, he supervised 1,200 MW of thermal plants and over 400 MW of solar power assets. In the past, he has served in various corporate leadership roles at Coastal Projects, Wachovia, Axis Bank and the State Bank Group. At Azure Power, Bhagat has replaced S.K. Gupta, who has been appointed executive vice-president, operations and maintenance.
In June 2017, Rays Power Infra appointed Rahul Mishra as CEO for its new business initiative, Rays Future Energy India, which focuses on distributed solar generation including rooftop solutions, energy storage, e-vehicles and associated infrastructure, and solar energy-based products. Prior to joining Rays Future Energy India, Mishra was working with Nereus Capital, a private equity fund focused on investing in the renewable energy sector. He also worked with AES India, the Power Finance Corporation and GE. At GE, Mishra was involved in setting up the operations of GE Energy Financial Services in India and Southeast Asia.
The Hartek Group appointed Ravinder Shan as CEO of its solar venture, Hartek Solar, in May 2017. Shan has earlier worked with Amitasha Enterprises and Tazy. He was also the founder and CEO of Phoebus Power. Shan also serves as guest faculty at the PTU Nalanda School of TQM and Entrepreneurship, where he had developed the energy management course for B.Tech students.
In March 2017, Gaurav Sood was appointed CEO, Sprng Energy, which is the energy arm of private equity fund Actis Capital. Sood was earlier MD of Solairedirect Energy India Private Limited, which is a part of the French utility ENGIE.
Gajanan Nabar, CEO, CleanMax Solar
CleanMax Solar appointed Gajanan Nabar as its CEO in February 2017. Prior to joining CleanMax, Nabar worked as MD and CEO of Praj Industries. He was also CEO at Praxair India for eight years.
In July 2017, Ajai Nirula resigned as chief operating officer (COO) of IEDCL. Nirula, who has extensive experience in the energy sector, is now practising as an independent management consultant. He has spent the majority of career (about 24 years) at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited. He has also served as COO, TPDDL, and worked with Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Limited.