ABOUT VARUN SIVARAM
Dr. Sivaram is a physicist, bestselling author, and clean energy technology expert with experience spanning the corporate, public, and academic sectors. He serves in the Biden-Harris administration as senior advisor to U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and the senior director for clean energy, innovation, and competitiveness. Previously, 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 has served on the faculty of Columbia University, 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 MIT Press book, Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet, 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 other books include Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission and Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems. His TED Talk on India's clean energy transition has been viewed more than one million times.
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, TED, 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; MIT Technology Review named him one of the top 35 innovators under 35; 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 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.