Gagan Sidhu has been fortunate to have had a career that spans several countries. While his key focus area during his long professional career has always been finance, he has had the benefit of approaching the subject from multiple perspectives. First, as a lender or arranger of capital during his time as an investment banker in Tokyo, Singapore, London and Dubai. Second, raising capital as the chief financial officer of a renewable energy business in India. Finally, as adviser to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water’s Centre for Energy Finance (CEF), evaluating ways to unlock capital flows at a macro level. To his benefit, he frequently finds himself drawing from the entire range of perspectives in his day-to-day work, which is a great way to add value.
In his present role at CEF, Sidhu does everything from initiating and executing research work plans to engaging with market participants, including financiers, policymakers and developers – with the aim of arriving at practical solutions and interventions that can increase the flow of capital. In parallel to his work with CEF, he selectively advises on capital raising and deployment in the renewable energy space. He feels both the roles are complementary as they allow him to keep in touch with the high-level policy end of the spectrum, as well as practical on-the-ground challenges.
The most memorable assignment of his career till date has been the refinance for a project loan backing a solar SPV, where his team was able to lower interest rates, stretch the tenor and significantly upsize the loan amount itself.
He feels that capital remains a challenge in the renewable energy space, but there are two sides to the story. “On the one hand, the pandemic has led to a much greater focus on the importance of turning green. This focus cuts across generation all the way to consumption, and to areas such as EVs where we have only scratched the surface in terms of potential. On the other, this means that the quantum of capital required for the energy transition is a lot larger, and will be required a lot sooner than anticipated in pre-pandemic times,” he says.
Sidhu’s management style is to always look for the way forward. He likes reading to unwind, but complains he does not get enough time to read nowadays. He also enjoys sports, particularly badminton. Writing a book on a non-business topic has been on his mind for some time and he certainly hopes he will write one in the near future.