From working at a technology startup to serving as lead, business technology for Adani Power’s renewables business, Utkarsh Rastogi’s career has spanned the energy technology space. He started working with Adani Power in 2017, and his key responsibilities are identifying opportunities for digitalisation to improve operations. Prior to Adani Power, he worked with a start-up involved in developing use cases for drones in the power sector. During this period, he worked on projects for leading companies like NTPC, Adani Power and Reliance Power.
Sharing his long-term perspective on the power sector, he says that demand will double by 2050. He expects nuanced changes across the power generation, transmission and distribution segments, driven by the influx of renewables and the rising complexity of consumer interactions with the grid owing to distributed solar, batteries and electrification of transport. “There is a clear roadmap for accelerated renewable capacity addition but there’s no thermal capacity addition being planned,” he says.
A key challenge, he says, is that the regulatory mechanisms do not take into account the fundamentally unpredictable nature of renewables over very short time intervals.“A rethink of regulatory mechanisms is imperative to allow renewables to play a more mature role in maintaining grid stability by providing ancillary grid support services.”
Rastogi’s most memorable assignment, interestingly, goes back to much before he began his energy technology career, when he was producing a documentary for an NGO on two remote schools in Rajasthan providing education to the local children. “It was a humbling experience to work with the children and learn about their dreams and aspirations. Personally, it taught me to not place a limit on what can be achieved with a motivated team.” His management style draws on this experience and is rooted in the belief that a high performance team must amalgamate the ingredients of ownership and accountability and, work within a framework of trust and transparency.
Rastogi is trying to move towards a healthy lifestyle by being more active, eating healthy, meditating and playing sports. He enjoys watching podcasts like “The Energy Gang” by GTM and “The a16z” by Andreessen Horowitz. Sapiens by Yuval Harari and Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman are some of the books he has particularly enjoyed reading. Among TV shows, Electric Dreams and Black Mirror are his favourites.