Varun Sivaram

Visiting Senior Fellow, Columbia University SIPA Center for Global Energy Policy, Columbia University

Dr. Varun Sivaram is a physicist, bestselling author, and clean energy technology expert with experience spanning the corporate, academic, and public 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. A widely published scientist and innovation scholar, he is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, 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. 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. He serves as one of the 25 advisors to the UN COP26 climate conference in 2021; as senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, ITIF, and Energy for Growth; and as an advisor to Camus Energy, Glint Solar, and Radia, Inc. TIME Magazine named him one of its TIME 100 Next most influential people in the world, and PV Magazine called him "the Hamilton of the Solar Industry.” His books include “Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet”—which the Economist called “prescient”—and “Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems." His newest book, "Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission," was endorsed by John Kerry as "authoritative and actionable." Writing about the urgent need for clean energy innovation, Sivaram warns that combating climate change with only existing technologies will be “expensive, complicated, and unpopular”—which Bill Gates praised as “one of the best arguments I've read for why the U.S. should invest in a clean energy revolution.” A Rhodes and Truman Scholar, he holds a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Oxford University and undergraduate degrees from Stanford University.