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Nikit Abhyankar

Title:Graduate, PhD 2013
Primary Affiliation:Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources
Office Location:
Phone:650-644-7178
E-mail:nikit@alumni.stanford.edu

Biographical Information

Nikit graduated from Stanford University’s Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources with a PhD in 2012. He is currently working at the International Energy Studies group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he conducts technical and economic analyses of renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. 

Nikit’s PhD thesis involved modeling energy policies that are central to a low-carbon development path for India, namely, the Indian natural gas market, grid integration of renewable energy, and energy efficiency programs. In the first part of the thesis, he analyzed the effect of price liberalization on the natural gas market by developing a mixed complementarity model, and found that price liberalization may overcome the prevailing gas shortages and improve total welfare; however, adequate investments in the gas pipeline infrastructure are a must. In the second part of the thesis, he built a capacity expansion and grid dispatch model to test the feasibility of integrating large scale renewable energy projects into the electricity grid. He found that integration of wind and solar power is feasible at modest incremental costs; however, regional coordination for planning transmission investments is crucial. In the third part, he analyzed the effect of implementing utility-funded demand-side energy efficiency programs on utility finances and consumer tariffs. He found that although utility incentive mechanisms can mitigate the utilities’ risk of losing long-run returns, they cannot address the risk of a consistently negative cash flow; with power shortages and cross-subsidized electricity rates in India, the cash flow risk is significantly amplified. 

While at Stanford, Nikit has been collaborating with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on several other projects such as estimating the greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential in the Indian electricity sector, analyzing the potential and financial incentives for deployment of super-efficient appliances, and analyzing the variability and seasonal patterns in wind energy generation etc. He has provided technical assistance to the Indian utilities and electricity regulators in conducting load surveys, designing energy efficiency programs, and their monitoring and verification. He has also studied the political economy of deregulation of the US natural gas sector; and has worked on the political, economic and regulatory aspects of technology transfer and diffusion of methane capture technologies in countries like US, India, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, and Philippines.

Prior to joining Stanford, Nikit worked in India’s energy sector for three years. He has conducted extensive research on designing incentives for improving the efficiency of coal fired power plants. As a consumers advocate in the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, he has participated in the regulatory proceedings of several key cases such utility rate determination, renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency programs and quality of service issues such as load shedding. He has analyzed the power sector reforms in India and the key policies framed under the Electricity Act 2003 such as National Tariff Policy and Rural Electrification Policy.

Nikit also has a masters degree in economics and a bachelors degree in electrical engineering from University of Pune, India. 

Education

  • 2012 | PhD in Environment and Resources, Stanford University (Expected)
  • 2007 | Master of Arts, Economics, University of Pune (India)
  • 2003 | Bachelor of Engineering, Electrical Engineering, University of Pune (India)

Professional Experience

  • 2009 – Present | Independent researcher for designing ratepayer funded energy efficiency programs and utility incentives, analyzing the impact of large scale renewable energy sources on electrical grid, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley (Dr. Jayant Sathaye)
  • 2008 – 2009 | Graduate student researcher on transfer and diffusion of methane capture technology across and within developing countries, Stanford University (Prof Thomas Heller)
  • 2008 | Graduate student researcher on the political economy of natural gas markets in India, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University (Prof David Victor)
  • 2004 - 2007 | Research Associate, Prayas Energy Group (India)

Honors & Awards

    2003 | Gold medal from University of Pune for standing first in the Bachelor of Electrical Engineering examination.

University Service

  • 2008 – 2011| President of the non-profit organization - Asha for Education (Stanford Chapter) working towards primary education of underprivileged children in India

Courses Taught

  • * 2009 (Winter) | ES 147/247 Teaching Assistant for Controlling Climate Change in the 21st Century [Enrolled 150]

Publications

  • Abhyankar, N., & Phadke, A. (2012). Impact of
    large-scale energy efficiency programs on utility finances and consumer tariffs
    in India. Energy Policy, 43(0), 308-326.
  • Abhyankar,
    N., J.Sathaye, et al (2012). Memorandum on Secure and Clean Energy Scenarios
    for India. Note to the Planning Commission of the Government of India.
  • Abhyankar,
    N & Phadke, A. (2011). Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Super Energy Efficiency
    Appliance Program in India in the 12th and 13th Plan
    Period. Note to the Planning Commission of the Government of India.
  • Abhyankar, N. (2009). Mitigation (of Climate Change). In
    S. Schneider (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather (Second ed.).
    New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Abhyankar,
    N., Carver, B., Channin, R., et al (2009). Understanding Factors Influencing the
    Transfer and Diffusion of Methane Control Technologies. Stanford University.
  • Chikkatur, A. P., Sagar, A. D., Abhyankar, N., &
    Sreekumar, N. (2007). Tariff-based incentives for improving coal-power-plant
    efficiencies in India. Energy Policy, 35(7), 3744-3758.
  • Abhyankar, N. (2005). Power Sector Restructuring in
    Madhya Pradesh. Economic and Policitcal Weekly, XL(48).

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