Meet Ansh! Ansh is an analyst on EFI’s research team. A LEGO enthusiast and podcast connoisseur, Ansh is passionate about addressing climate change.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve wanted to be an engineer since as long as I can remember. As a kid, building stuff with LEGO was my favorite hobby. (I still love playing with LEGO but don’t get much time to do so anymore.) So, I knew that I wanted to build stuff when I grew up, too. Studying engineering, however, wasn’t as hands-on as I’d expected it to be, so I participated in competitions and other activities where I could create things.
What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?
I volunteered to build a solar project at a village in Cambodia. This village was informally adopted by my university, and students visited it throughout the year to help in any way needed. This was the first time that I got to work hands-on on a real energy project. We fundraised to cover the cost of the photovoltaic system and related infrastructure, designed the system layout, and built the supporting infrastructure (have you ever made concrete by hand?).
A crucial part of this experience was trying to understand—do the residents of the village both need and want our help? If yes, what is the best way to help them? How do we help them in a way that does not hurt them in any way—emotionally, physically, or economically? The social side of clean energy projects are often overlooked, and so now I try to highlight this in every project that I am part of.
The rewarding aspect of this experience was twofold. First, I felt proud that this project helped the village save a thousand dollars per year—money that could be used for other essential goods and services. Second, it convinced me that promoting renewable energy and fighting climate change was what I wanted to pursue as a career.
What’s the best thing about working at EFI?
We are a young company—both in terms of company age and average employee age—so there is a lot of excitement and passion in the work we do. People really care about fighting climate change via promoting clean energy technologies. I am constantly impressed by the quality and talent of my colleagues. I am truly amazed by the impact we have despite our size. The reports we publish are read by policymakers and don’t just lie at the bottom of a pile, which motivates me to work harder. A friend interning at the Senate, who had heard of us, thought we were a large thousand-person think tank due to the amount of high-quality work we publish and the impact we have on the Hill.
What gives you hope for the future?
When I got into sustainability and clean energy in 2012, most of my classmates thought I was foolish. “Clean energy is too expensive; environmentalism is so stupid.” I’m glad that this way of thinking has changed (many of them work in the clean tech sector because now it makes a lot of money). Most young people today are passionate about fighting climate change. Lots of companies are working hard to solve every problem that we face in the climate sector, from cost-effective carbon utilization to environmental justice. I see a future where electric transport is the norm and heavily polluting factories/plants are a fragment of the past.
What is one thing on your bucket list (professional or otherwise)?
Professional: Starting my own social enterprise that gives people in need access to clean, affordable, stable electricity. Energy is key to solving most problems: I have seen how electrification has helped people in my country, India, massively increase their standard of living in recent years.
Otherwise: Skydiving and bungee jumping. I love adrenaline-boosting activities and would love to experience free fall (safely).
What is your favorite song at the moment?
I’m more of a podcasts-guy nowadays, but if I were forced to choose, it would be My Universe by Coldplay and BTS. I think of my partner whenever I hear it.
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