One of the key post-Covid priorities will be to make the country’s power sector resilient, both physically and financially, by bringing in much-needed reforms in tariffs, securing investments and shifting to cleaner energy,” says Manish Agarwal, CEO, Infrastructure and Solutions Business, Sterlite Power. Agarwal is an energy infrastructure veteran with over 25 years of experience in the power sector. In his current role, he steers the India chapter of the company’s transmission infrastructure business. He is responsible for services, engineering, procurement and construction, as well as the power products and convergence business segments. His focus is on ensuring project execution excellence and building a healthy order book for the company.
Agarwal believes that growth in the transmission segment will come from developing evacuation infrastructure for renewables and strengthening the state grids. This has encouraged private developers to enter the market, leading to widespread participation and intense competition. “On the technical side, solutions to uprate and upgrade existing infrastructure to enhance corridor capacities must go hand-in-hand with greenfield projects to meet the challenges of right of way and speed up project implementation. As the grid size grows bigger and bigger, along with the development of international and intercontinental interconnectors projects, the level of automation and communication and control mechanisms will play a significant role,” he notes.
On his management style, Agarwal says that success is 2 per cent ideation and 98 per cent implementation. He believes in vesting confidence in his colleagues and building competency in his team. He also likes to work closely with his people, irrespective of hierarchy, so that their decisions and actions are aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation. Despite the challenges and pressures that come with his high-profile job, Agarwal loves his work as it contributes to nation-building. The opportunity to build power lifelines and bring light to millions of people is his greatest reward. He is a Harvard alumnus, who pursued executive leadership programmes at IIM-A and ISB Hyderabad. He has a degree in engineering and an MBA from Federation University, Australia. He is also vice-president of CIGRE India, a member of the National Executive Council of the IEEMA and the FICCI Power Committee, and chairman of Assocham’s Task Force on Transmission.