CTO, ReNew Power
Varun Sivaram is a physicist, bestselling author, and Chief Technology Officer at ReNew Power Limited, a multibillion-dollar renewable energy firm that is India’s largest by installed capacity. He is also a senior research scholar at the Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy, a board member for the Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy, and an editorial board member for the journal Global Transitions. Most recently, he was the Philip D. Reed Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C., where he directed the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change. He was also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, where he taught “Clean Energy Innovation.”
He is the author of the bestselling book, Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet (MIT Press, 2018), which the Financial Times called “the best available overview of where the solar industry finds itself today, and a road map for how it can reach a brighter future.” He is also the editor of the book, Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems (CFR Press, 2018).
Dr. Sivaram’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Energy Policy, the Journal of Applied Physics, the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Nature, Nature Energy, Nature Climate Change, Joule, Scientific American, MIT Tech Review, and Issues in Science and Technology. He has also given talks around the world, including at the Aspen Ideas Festival, SXSW, IHS CERAWeek, and the World Economic Forum. TIME Magazine named him to its inaugural TIME 100 Next list of the next hundred most influential people in the world; Forbes Magazine called him one of the 30 under 30 in Law and Policy; Grist selected him as one of the top 50 leaders in sustainability; and PV Magazine named him the “Hamilton of the Solar Industry.”
Dr. Sivaram has served as strategic advisor to the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Reforming the Energy Vision, and he was formerly a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he counseled Fortune 500 companies on adapting to the modern competitive landscape in energy. Prior to this role, he served as senior advisor for energy and water policy to the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and oversaw the city’s Department of Water and Power.
A Rhodes and a Truman scholar, he holds a PhD in condensed matter physics from St. John’s College, Oxford University, where he developed third-generation solar photovoltaic coatings. He also holds degrees from Stanford University in engineering physics and international relations, with honors in international security. He lives in New Delhi, India.