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Hear in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia, and civil society.

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Varun Sivaram

Biography

Dr. Sivaram is a physicist, bestselling author, and clean energy technology expert with experience spanning the corporate, public, and academic sectors. Most recently, as chief technology officer of ReNew Power, Sivaram led research and development for a multibillion-dollar company recognized as India’s largest producer of renewable energy as well as its most innovative energy company; his corporate experience also includes consulting for McKinsey & Co’s energy practice. Sivaram has also shaped government policies supportive of innovation as the director of the energy and climate program at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a senior energy advisor to the Los Angeles mayor and New York governor’s office. A widely published scientist and innovation scholar, he serves on the boards of Stanford University’s energy and environment institutes, and created the course “Clean Energy Innovation” as a Georgetown University professor to train the next generation of energy leaders.

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). Bill Gates has praised his work as “one of the best arguments I’ve read for why the US should invest in a clean energy revolution.”​

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 TED, 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 100 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.”

​​A Rhodes and Truman Scholar, he holds a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Oxford University and undergraduate degrees in engineering physics and international relations from Stanford University.

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January 20, 2021 Commentary Energy Policy

To Bring Emissions-Slashing Technologies to Market, the United States Needs Targeted Demand-Pull Innovation Policies

President-elect Joe Biden has called climate change one of the four most important crises facing the country and pledged ambitious climate action.

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Energy Policy

Establishing energy policy solutions informed by rigorous research and dialogue is key to addressing climate change, increasing access to energy, and sparking innovation for a thriving global energy economy.

September 15, 2020 Op-eds & Essays Climate Change

To confront the climate crisis, the US should launch a National Energy Innovation Mission

America has successfully launched national innovation missions time and again. These missions have delivered life-saving...

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Climate Change

Climate change is one of the central challenges of the 21st century. Building and linking the policies, technologies, financial systems, and markets needed to achieve climate goals is key to addressing this challenge.

September 15, 2020 Reports Climate Change

Energizing America

Clean energy innovation is central to the fight against climate change. The dramatic success in lowering the costs of solar panels and wind turbines in the past decade must be replicated across a wide range of other energy technologies.

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Climate Change

Climate change is one of the central challenges of the 21st century. Building and linking the policies, technologies, financial systems, and markets needed to achieve climate goals is key to addressing this challenge.

June 03, 2019 Commentary Climate Change

The Next Generation of Federal Clean Electricity Tax Credits

The federal tax incentive for wind energy expires at the end of 2019, and the incentive for solar energy will begin phasing out in 2020. Over multiple decades, these policies have succeeded in promoting the development and deployment of wind and solar technology, which today are rapidly gaining market share in the US electricity sector.

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Climate Change

Climate change is one of the central challenges of the 21st century. Building and linking the policies, technologies, financial systems, and markets needed to achieve climate goals is key to addressing this challenge.

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