The past year saw several leadership changes in both public and private sector power companies. At the central level, new heads were appointed for the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO). Two PSUs – REC Limited and NHPC Limited – had a top-level management change. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), and PTC India Limited also saw the appointment of new heads. In the private sector, there were leadership changes in several clean energy businesses including Vikram Solar, Azure Power and Serentica Renewables. A look at the key movements in the power sector over the past year…
Vivek Kumar Dewangan, CMD, REC Limited
Vivek Kumar Dewangan assumed charge as chairman and managing director (CMD) of REC Limited in May 2022. He is also the ex-officio chairman of REC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, REC Power Development and Consultancy Limited. Before his appointment at REC, he was serving as additional secretary in the Ministry of Power (MoP).
In the past, he has held various administrative positions in areas such as finance; power and energy; petroleum and natural gas; elections, law and justice; commerce and industries; and offices of various ministries (corporate affairs, agriculture, and food processing industries); and district administration (Surguja and Raipur districts of Chhattisgarh, and Senapati district in Manipur).
“REC is a corporation of national importance. It has always been and shall continue to be the government’s biggest partner in achieving India’s national and international goals. On the business front, there is a need to diversify further into green and sustainable technologies, as well as newer geographies,” Dewangan stated in his joining address.
A 1993 batch IAS officer of the Manipur cadre, Dewangan has a bachelor of engineering degree in electronics from NIT, Bhopal, and a postgraduate degree in optoelectronics and optical communication from IIT Delhi.
Ghanshyam Prasad, Chairperson, CEA
Ghanshyam Prasad took charge as chairperson and ex-officio secretary to the Government of India, CEA, MoP, in July 2022. He is also a director on the board of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited in an ex-officio capacity, and an ex-officio member of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Prasad has worked for 30 years in the power sector and for three years at the Bokaro Steel Plant, SAIL. In the power sector, he has worked and contributed to various areas including renewable energy, transmission, distribution, generation, power market development/trading of power, and reforms and restructuring. Prior to his current role, he held the post of joint secretary in the MoP. He has served in the MoP for around nine years in various capacities.
“We need to now ensure quality 24×7 electricity for consumers. While we have been able to provide electricity to each and every household, quality still remains the key concern,” Prasad remarked at a recent industry event.
Prasad was a part of the Central Power Engineering Services batch of 1989. He has a B.Tech degree in electrical engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi. He also has an M.Tech in energy and environment management from IIT Delhi and an MBA in finance from IGNOU, Delhi.
Yamuna Kumar Chaubey, CMD, NHPC Limited
In September 2022, Yamuna Kumar Chaubey took over additional charge as CMD of NHPC Limited. He has been on the board of NHPC Limited as director (technical) since April 1, 2020, and also holds the additional charge of director (personnel).
Chaubey is a civil engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur. He joined NHPC in 1985 as a probationary executive (civil) at the 540 MW Chamera Hydroelectric Project (HEP) (now Chamera-I Power Station), Himachal Pradesh. He has been working for over 37 years across various departments such as contracts, design, and engineering and construction projects for NHPC in various capacities. For over 25 years of his career, he has worked in the design and engineering division in various capacities, as well as in planning and layout engineering for prefeasibility reports/ feasibility reports/detailed project reports, and construction stage design of hydroelectric/river valley projects. Chaubey has worked on the construction of two key NHPC projects – the 540 MW Chamera-I HEP in Himachal Pradesh (executed in collaboration with Canada’s SNC/ACRES) and the 480 MW Uri HEP in Jammu & Kashmir (executed on a turnkey basis by Uri Civil, a Swedish consortium).
S.R. Narasimhan, CMD, POSOCO
S.R. Narasimhan took over as CMD, Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) in March 2022, replacing K.V.S. Baba.
Narasimhan has over three decades of experience in power system operation, having worked with the CEA, Power Grid Corporation of India (Powergrid) and POSOCO after an initial stint with BHEL. After a 23-year tenure at the Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre and the Western Regional Load Despatch Centre, he joined the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) in July 2011 and was later elevated to executive director (NLDC). He has extensive experience in the interconnection of regional grids to create a synchronous all-India electricity grid. He has handled all facets of power system operation, and has also implemented several electricity market reforms such as availability-based tariff, interstate open access and day-ahead markets at the power exchange.
“With positive and strong indicators on the economic front, electricity demand is likely to go upwards. This is coupled with the ever increasing penetration of renewables. In such scenarios, resource adequacy in all time horizons becomes crucial,” stated Narasimhan at POSOCO’s 13th Annual General Meeting.
He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA in finance.
Arun Kumar Mishra, CEO (Deputation), EESL
In October 2021, Arun Kumar Mishra was appointed chief executive officer (CEO) on deputation of EESL. In this role, he is responsible for EESL’s operations across the country. He has also been a director of the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) since 2017.
Mishra has over three decades of experience in the energy sector and has worked with organisations such as NTPC Limited and Powergrid. He has served in varied roles such as director, NSGM, project management unit; and vice chair, International Smart Grid Action Network. He holds a BSc in electrical engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, and an advanced diploma in management from Indira Gandhi National Open University.
“It is an honour to be a part of the world’s largest public energy service company. The Government of India has acknowledged the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency as the key pillars of national climate change strategies. I look forward to consolidating EESL’s leadership position in sustainable energy transformation,” stated Mishra on his appointment.
Dr Rajib K. Mishra, CMD, PTC India Limited
In November 2021, Rajib Kumar Mishra assumed charge as CMD of PTC India Limited, succeeding Deepak Amitabh.
Mishra has 30 years of experience in the power sector, across Powergrid, NTPC and PTC India. He joined the PTC board on February 24, 2015 as director (marketing and business development). Prior to this, he had worked as executive director of PTC since October 2011 and was responsible for operations, business development, retail and advisory services. Before joining PTC, he was general manager (CMG) at Powergrid, and also worked as project manager for supervisory control and data acquisition/ energy management system projects at Powergrid’s regional load despatch centre for seven years.
In a recent interview with Power Line, Mishra remarked, “PTC is currently morphing itself from being predominantly an electricity trader to a total solutions provider in the electricity value chain, with an expanded definition to include battery energy storage systems and green hydrogen. We believe that trading as we know it will also undergo a change, with PTC assuming market risks and taking positions.”
Mishra has a Ph.D in business administration from Aligarh Muslim University and was accorded visiting scholar status by the University of Texas, Austin in 2008 for his post-doctoral research. He did his graduation in electrical engineering from NIT Durgapur and his post-graduation from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology under a Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation fellowship.
Varun Mehta, Whole-time Director, Torrent Power
In August 2022, Varun Mehta was appointed director on the board of Torrent Power.
He has worked across different business segments of the company – renewables, thermal generation and distribution. He started his career in the renewables business, where he made an important contribution in formulating the entry strategy of the group in the area of renewable energy, and setting up the initial set of renewable energy projects. Later, when he moved to the thermal generation business, he spearheaded a strategic initiative for importing liquefied natural gas directly from international markets, making Torrent Power the first Indian power company to successfully do so. This initiative led to significant benefits for the company in terms of revenue enhancement and cost savings. Currently, he heads the distribution licence (Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Diu, Daman, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Dahej and Dholera), transmission and cables businesses. Some of his key contributions have been the takeover of operations at Diu, Daman, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Dholera and Mandal Bechraji, and reducing AT&C losses. His efforts in the area of operational excellence led to Torrent Power becoming one of only five companies in the world to be simultaneously awarded the prestigious Sword of Honour and Globe of Honour from the British Safety Council in 2021.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Warwick, UK, and an MBA from INSEAD, France.
Vignesh Nandakumar, CEO, Serentica Renewables
Vignesh Nandakumar has been appointed CEO of Serentica Renewables, which is 100 per cent owned by Twinstar Overseas Limited. Launched in September 2022, the company will focus on providing round-the-clock carbon-free power to large consumers of energy in India.
Nandakumar has over two decades of experience across the technology, renewable energy and investment domains. He has been instrumental in building renewable energy businesses from scratch to scale, executing renewable energy projects, driving the strategic commercial objectives of business, and originating mergers and acquisitions. In the renewable energy space, he has led project investments worth over $750 million across India, South Africa and Southeast Asia for SunEdison.
Besides this, he has served as a partner with the impact-focused fund Lightrock, where he led investments in sustainability-focused businesses and was a board member with businesses in the fields of commercial and industrial renewable energy, electric vehicles and mobility.
Nandakumar has a B.Tech from IIT Madras, an MS from Washington University and an MBA from the Indian School of Business.
Ivan Saha, CEO, Vikram Solar
In July 2022, Ivan Saha took charge as CEO of Vikram Solar, succeeding Saibaba Vutukuri. Prior to this, Saha was chief technology officer (CTO) at ReNew Power Private Limited. He has experience in technology and operations roles across organisations such as IIT Kanpur, the Indian Space Research Organisation and Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited. He also worked at Vikram Solar between 2013 and 2020 as president and CTO.
Saha has a bachelor’s degree in science (ceramic technology) from the University of Calcutta, and a master’s in technology (materials science) from IIT Kanpur.
Rupesh Agarwal, Acting CEO and Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, Azure Power
In September 2022, Rupesh Agarwal took over as acting CEO at Azure Power. He joined Azure in August 2022 as chief strategy and commercial officer. “I am delighted to join Team Azure at such an exciting time in India’s net-zero journey. Azure has the potential to be a market leader in energy transition, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with the team and shareholders,” stated Agarwal on his appointment.
He has over two decades of leadership experience in asset development and strategy consulting. He has been advising leading utilities and private equity investors on developing and managing their cleantech investments. Prior to Azure Power, he held leadership positions at Convergence Energy Services Limited, Lightsource India, Binder Dijker Otte, and Ernst & Young. He was also the founder of AEM Energi & Motum, a zero-emission electric mobility company which pioneered India’s first public electric bus trials under a wet lease model for urban utilities.
Rupesh has an MBA from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Australia and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore University, India.