The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India team (EPIC-India) has brought on Ken Lee to serve as the Institute’s new Executive Director. Lee’s appointment comes at a time when EPIC-India is rapidly expanding its portfolio of comprehensive research projects and partnerships with government and industry. Former Executive Director Anant Sudarshan will now be based in Chicago. As Executive Director of EPIC (South Asia), Anant will work closely with EPIC leadership to identify new opportunities for EPIC research within India and beyond, and will also focus on his own research and teaching.
“Ken brings an impressive track record of leading large-scale energy projects and securing vital partnerships to his new role at EPIC-India,” says Michael Greenstone, the director of EPIC and the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School. “We look forward to having Ken build on the strong foundation established by Anant to expand EPIC-India’s impact and reach.”
Ken Lee has worked extensively at the intersection of development and energy economics. Prior to his appointment at EPIC-India, he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Energy Institute at Haas and the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) based at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he developed and negotiated a research partnership with Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority, which allowed him to design and successfully execute one of the first randomized evaluations of electricity grid infrastructure in Africa—a project that connected nearly 500 rural households to the grid for the first time. Lee holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Berkeley and an MIA from Columbia University.
“India is one of just a handful of countries that allows the opportunity of using research to design solutions that can impact millions of lives,” says Lee, who has completed his first month in New Delhi. “I am excited to be leading a team that is working hand-in-hand with government and industry partners across the country to provide access to reliable energy and a cleaner and healthier environment for Indians.”
Lee joins EPIC-India as Sudarshan takes on the added coverage of all of South Asia. He will also spend time at the University of Chicago’s main campus in the United States teaching innovative energy courses. There, he will share his extensive experience in environmental regulation, air pollution, climate change, energy efficiency and electricity access with emerging energy leaders.
“I look forward to sharing what I have learned from working with practitioners in India with students at the University of Chicago in hopes that I can diversify and enrich their learning experience,” says Sudarshan, who started EPIC’s India operations in 2014. “As connecting high quality research with policy leaders and carrying out pilots to test these solutions has been our strength, Ken’s extensive experience in these areas will be an incredible asset as EPIC-India continues to grow.”