Awadhesh Kumar Jha: Vice-President, Solar O&M, Sustainability and Hydro, Fortum India

Vice-President, Solar O&M, Sustainability and Hydro, Fortum India

Awadhesh Kumar Jha has over 24 years of experience in the energy sector, spread over government and private companies. He began his career as assistant director with the Central Water Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources, where he was responsible for formulating policies and planning and developing hydro projects in India, Nepal and Bhutan. In 2007, after 15 years of service in the government sector, Jha switched over to the private sector. Starting with DANS Energy Private Limited, he then moved to Hindustan Powerprojects Private Limited, where he spent about six years.

Currently with Fortum India as vice-president, solar operations and maintenance (O&M), sustainability and hydro, he is responsible for the O&M of solar plants. “I am also leading and managing Fortum’s hydro activities in India and ensuring that Fortum India’s operations are managed in a sustainable way,” he explains. “As there are factors in solar energy generation beyond one’s control, one has to manage assets while ensuring that revenue does not go down, even in unfavourable circumstances,” he says.

According to Jha, “Solar is more technology-oriented than other renewable energy sources, and has a lot of scope for technological development. The next major breakthrough has to take place in energy storage and solar module efficiency. Once nanotechnology is commercially scalable, it will have the potential to disrupt the entire chain of the traditional energy business.”

Jha describes himself as a transformational leader who delegates and trusts his team members. “Perseverance, persuasive communication and high psychological capital are my strengths. I am a student of positive psychology who works to augment the team’s strength areas without bothering about weaknesses. I believe that by expending less effort, we can deliver more by working on our strengths.”

His wife has a post-graduate diploma in organic chemistry and is a homemaker by choice. They have two sons, one of whom is pursuing a mechanical engineering degree while the other studies in high school. Jha is a civil engineering graduate with a post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM Lucknow. He is a voracious reader and often reads books on Indian mythology during his spare time. “I am interested in exploring why one behaves a particular way in a given situation. I also love watching Bollywood movies,” he says.