Mahua Acharya is an international climate finance and carbon markets expert, with almost two decades of experience in green finance, renewables and carbon markets in Europe, the US and Asia. She was assistant director general of the Global Green Growth Institute, an intergovernmental organisation based in Seoul, with operations in 31 countries. She also worked on mergers and acquisitions at ArcelorMittal and served with the World Bank in her early career.
Acharya has recently been appointed as chief executive officer of Convergence Energy Services Limited, a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Limited, focused on delivering energy solutions that lie at the confluence of renewable energy, electric mobility and climate change. Convergence brings together isolated interventions to fill multiple gaps in the energy ecosystem, Acharya explains. Its first priority is to solarise agricultural feeders, which would enable considerable savings for discoms, reduce the subsidy burden for the state and provide daytime power to farmers. “This would provide at least 50 per cent savings over what they would otherwise incur for agriculture, which is what we are aiming for,” she notes.
On the exciting trends shaping the power sector, Acharya remarks, “India is well on course to achieving its renewable energy targets, with solar becoming a leading source of power. Solar power today is more cost competitive than new coal and certainly cheaper than existing coal. However, the increased share of renewables in the grid requires adjustments and increased investments in technology and the grid.” For seamless integration of solar power into the grid, there is a need to invest in storage as well, she believes. “The sector has begun integrating technologies rapidly, making renewables much more affordable. We are also witnessing new and disruptive business models, which have high applicability in India.”
Acharya recalls her most memorable assignment as the time when she was involved in the delivery of energy efficient light bulbs to low-income homes during her tenure with the World Bank. This was made possible through the sale of carbon credits and international private equity. “The project taught me the hardest lessons when it comes to bringing private capital to play in a government programme,” she notes.
Acharya holds a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University.