Shardul Kulkarni, founder of Deesha Power Solutions, brings to the table over 16 years of experience as a power sector consultant with expertise in stressed asset evaluation, new market and product development, power sector regulatory analysis, financial modelling, due diligence and investment analysis for infrastructure projects.
He is currently managing director and chief executive officer of Deesha Power, a niche infrastructure solutions company that offers support to ARCs, special situation funds, banks, solution providers, power companies through a combination of extensive primary and in-depth secondary research. Prior to setting up the company in 2014, he served with SBICAP, CRISIL Infra, Singapore PE Advisory and Tata Strategic, working on infrastructure projects across Southeast Asia and western Africa.
Commenting on the key trends in the power industry, Kulkarni says, “The Indian power sector is in a state of flux. After having hit the bottom, it is now starting to recover. While the initial pace of revival is likely to be slow, activity will pick up in the medium to long run. Digitalisation is going to be the key trend going forward. “However, we should learn from past mistakes. As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and the same applies to the power sector. It is imperative that we end the culture of free power and waivers on utility bills. Anything that is free or is waived, becomes scarce over a period of time (leading to more load shedding) and gives rise to inefficiencies (a drop in reliability index).”
Looking back at his professional career, Kulkarni recalls his time at SBICAP as his most memorable. “It was like getting a paid MBA in infrastructure financing,” he says. He got the opportunity to work on some of the best infrastructure deals in the country during the period 2001-04.
An engineer from the University of Mumbai, Kulkarni also has a management degree in finance from the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. “A desire to contribute to the growth of the nation, which is directly linked to energy, motivated me to join the power sector,” he says. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading and going on long drives with his family, which includes his wife, who is a co-director at Deesha Power Solutions, and their two children. His bucket list includes trekking in the Himalayas, writing a book on energy economics and learning Sanskrit.