The renewable energy sector has an extensive ecosystem of players, both domestic and international, across its value chain, including the manufacturing segment. The growth in the sector has been accompanied by a demand for experienced management personnel and over the years, the industry has attracted talent from diverse backgrounds. In the past year, the sector has witnessed high churn, leading to a number of moves and changes in management. At the top government level too, there have been a series of appointments. Renewable Watch takes a look at the key movements in the sector over the past year…
MoP appoints new secretary
In a key development, Sanjeev Nandan Sahai assumed charge as secretary, Ministry of Power (MoP), in November 2019. Sahai is a UT cadre IAS officer of the 1986 batch. He has also served as additional secretary in the MoP from May 2018 to July 2019. During the course of his career, Sahai has held several key positions in the central as well as state governments. These include director general (additional secretary equivalent) and additional secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; principal secretary, home department; chairman and managing director (CMD), Delhi Transport Corporation; secretary-cum-commissioner, transport, Delhi government; chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board; and finance secretary, Government of Delhi NCT. Sahai succeeds Subhash Chandra Garg, a former finance secretary who sought voluntary retirement. Garg was to retire in October 2020.
MNRE appoints A.K. Sinha as joint secretary
In June 2019, Amitesh Kumar Sinha was appointed joint secretary in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Sinha is an IRAS officer of the 1997 batch. During the same month, A.N. Sharan was relieved from the post of joint secretary in the MNRE.
NTPC appoints Mohit Bhargava as its renewables head
In May 2019, state-run NTPC Limited appointed a new head for its renewables team to expedite its expansion into the clean energy space. It promoted Mohit Bhargava, chief general manager for corporate planning, to the position of executive director, RE, CC and EOC. Bhargava expects the power major to surpass its target of 32 GW of renewable capacity by 2032.
IREDA gets a new CMD
Pradip Kumar Das, director, finance, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), was selected to the post of CMD, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) in August 2019. He succeeded K.S. Popli, who completed his five-year tenure with IREDA.
SECI appoints Manoj Mathur as director, solar
Manoj Mathur assumed charge as director, solar, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), on August 16, 2019. Prior to this, he served as executive director, commercial, NTPC. Mathur has over 35 years of experience in various segments of the electricity value chain – generation (thermal, gas, hydro and renewables), project construction and commissioning, power trading, contracts, commercial, consultancy, UMPP bidding process, and reforms.
Arvind Singh moves from Maharashtra energy department to AAI
In November 2019, Arvind Singh, a 1988 batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, moved from the position of additional chief secretary, energy, Maharashtra government, to chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI). While in the energy department, he also served as CMD of Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited and Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Limited. At AAI, Singh replaces Anuj Aggarwal, who earlier had additional charge as AAI chairman.
Andhra Pradesh gets a new energy secretary
In June 2019, IAS officer Nagulapalli Srikant assumed charge as secretary, energy department, and CMD, AP Transco. Meanwhile, Ajay Jain, who was serving a s principal secretary, energy, infrastructure and investment department, was transferred and appointed principal secretary, housing, Andhra Pradesh government.
Rajasthan government appoints new principal secretary, power department
In September 2019, Kunji Lal Meena was appointed principal secretary, power department, Rajasthan government. He replaced Naresh Pal Gangwar, who was transferred to the agriculture department. Gangwar had taken charge of the power department in December 2018 from Sanjay Malhotra, who was appointed principal secretary, revenue, colonisation, Sainik Kalyan Department, Jaipur.
New leadership at Azure Power
In May 2019, Inderpreet Wadhwa announced his decision to retire as chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of the board of directors of Azure Power. Following this announcement, the company’s board appointed Ranjit Gupta as CEO and member of the board, and Murali Subramanian as president, effective July 18, 2019. Previously, Gupta and Subramanian were the co-founders and CEO and chief operating officer (COO) respectively of Ostro Energy, a start-up enterprise that they grew into one of the leading renewable energy companies in India with a portfolio of over 1,000 MW. Prior to Ostro Energy, Gupta and Subramanian were senior executives at other power companies, including Orange Renewables and IndiaBulls Power. They began their careers at Schlumberger, in various field and management positions. Meanwhile, to facilitate an orderly transition, Wadhwa will continue to serve as adviser to the company until December 31, 2019.
In November 2019, Azure Power appointed Deepak Malhotra, director, infrastructure, South Asia, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), to its board of directors. Before joining CDPQ in 2018, Malhotra worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group, where he led several debt and equity investments in the infrastructure sector. Before IFC, he worked with a leading credit rating agency in India and in the merchant navy. CDPQ, a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and para-public pension and insurance plans, is Azure Power’s largest individual shareholder and holds equity of more than 41 per cent. This appointment takes the number of CDPQ board seats at Azure to two.
ReNew Power restructures top management
In October 2019, ReNew Power promoted Sanjay Varghese to the post of executive vice president from senior vice president. In his new role, Varghese will head the solar business of the company and report directly to Sumant Sinha, CMD, ReNew Power. Varghese has been with the company for the past two years. Previously, he served as COO for Lanco Solar. In the same month, ReNew Power announced that its COO, Parag Sharma, had decided to leave the organisation to pursue interests outside the company after having worked with it for five years.
In August 2019, ReNew Power appointed D. Muthukumaran as chief financial officer. He took over this role following the retirement of Ravi Seth. He oversees the company’s finance, accounts, legal and corporate finance functions. Prior to joining ReNew Power, Muthukumaran was CEO of Aditya Birla PE Advisors Private Limited.
Vikram Solar appoints new heads for corporate finance and global markets
In November 2019, module manufacturer and rooftop solar and EPC solutions provider, Vikram Solar announced the appointment of Sweta Sultania as head of corporate finance. Sultania brings with her around 15 years of diverse experience in investment banking and corporate finance. She was earlier associated with organisations such as EY, Acme Cleantech Solutions and Enam Securities. In the past, she has advised companies on fundraising and M&A in the solar, wind and power transmission space.
Prior to this, in July 2019, Vikram Solar appointed Ravindra Anil Vaidya as vice president, global markets, with a focus on strengthening the Indian module manufacturer and EPC player’s international presence. Vaidya will be based in Singapore and lead the firm’s global market strategy. Vaidya has 27 years of industry experience and was previously head of sales for Singapore and Southeast Asia with inverter maker ABB. He has also worked with Siemens and CG Power Systems across Southeast Asia.