Letter from the President

Sid Radhakrishna (WG’20)

Greetings Wharton alumni,

I am thrilled to lead the Wharton Energy Network and wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit about my journey.

I’ve always been someone who has wanted to make the world a better place. Those tools throughout my career have been entrepreneurship. finance, and science-based innovation.  I started out at PwC learning how biotech companies commercialized innovation emerging from cutting-edge R&D. Then I moved to the Calvert Funds, one of the first socially-responsible investors in the U.S., working with their private investments team. My final stop before Wharton was as employee number one with Illumen Capital, a private equity firm that partnered with Stanford social psychologists to reduce bias in investing.

My MBA experience at Wharton was incredibly formative. I spent most of my first year experimenting with different paths. I was absolutely certain that I wanted to work on something where I could make a big impact on a challenging issue.

After many coffee chats with second years and phone calls with Wharton alumni, I found my home in the renewable energy and cleantech space. As part of the MBA major in Business, Energy, Environment and Sustainability, I was able to take classes with some of Wharton’s best professors, like Energy Markets with Arthur van Benthem and Environmental Law with Sarah Light. With support from the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, I attended the National Renewable Energy Lab’s investor forum and had the opportunity to share my experience.1

My Wharton experience helped me discover a newfound passion for business action on climate change, the generational issue of our time. Our fate is intimately tied to the future of the energy industry, which is undergoing a dramatic transformation. I became fascinated by the fundamental shifts underway in the energy industry. The rapidly falling costs of solar, wind, and energy storage over the last decade have made a decarbonized grid economically feasible. This has been a watershed year for electric vehicles, with the rise of Tesla, a multitude of SPACs, and incumbent automakers launching electric models. Asset managers and central banks have begun to price climate risk into their investment strategies, affecting carbon-intensive industries. Now with the pandemic, green stimulus is offering a pathway to economic recovery and job creation.

I believe that climate change is the most important challenge we will face over the course of our professional lives. It represents one of the greatest economic opportunities of our generation. Bold action between now and 2030 could yield an economic gain of $26 trillion and the creation of 65 million new low-carbon jobs relative to business as usual. I see climate change as the 21st century version of the Apollo program, where the mission to put a man on the moon galvanized America towards one of the greatest achievements in human history and inspired a nation to dream.

Wharton gave me the confidence to pursue a moonshot summer internship with Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion venture fund launched by Bill Gates that invests in companies building and scaling innovations that promise to reduce our carbon footprint across electricity, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, and agriculture. I got to work alongside leading investors and technologists who are dedicating their careers to solving the climate crisis.  Post-Wharton, the journey has taken me to Form Energy, a company working to unlock a 100% renewable grid through ultra-low-cost long-duration energy storage.

Now as President of the Wharton Energy Network, I am eager to empower my fellow alumni to accelerate their careers and deepen connections with each other.  We have a bold vision and I hope you'll join me on the adventure.

-Sid