A graduate in mechanical engineering, Nimbargi started his career with Babcock & Wilcox (now part of Alstom). His first job was in Madhya Pradesh, working at Birsinghpur on a 210 MW power station. In 1996, he moved to French equipment major Alstom. During his over 15 years there, he worked in several roles such as regional vice-president of global power sales, country head of procurement and sourcing and head of project management for turnkey power plants, and led a Six Sigma programme.
Among the many high points of his career at Alstom, he recalls completing the refurbishment of four Russian units of 50 MW each at Korba in Chhattisgarh as project director. These units were 30 years old. Their age presented technical and commercial challenges. But his team and he finished the project on time and saw the units deliver a performance far in excess of what Alstom had promised – a life extension of 15 years and a plant load factor of more than 90 per cent. He was also on the board of the NTPC-Alstom joint venture.
These varying leadership roles have helped him hone the management style he now deploys at Sembcorp Green Infra. “I’m very open to listening to people, having open communication, delegating responsibilities, empowering people while having guidelines in place, keeping them focused on processes and systems so that they work within the rules to deliver results,” he says. The fact that a significant energy player such as Sembcorp was attracted to Green Infra is testimony to Nimbargi’s efforts over the past four years to transform a start-up into one of the most respected companies in the sector.
He is pleased with the government’s plan to push up the current contribution of renewable energy to total generation. “More specifically, I am waiting for the amendment to the Electricity Act, which will enforce renewable purchase obligations for action on grid strengthening and grid management so as to allow higher absorption of renewable energy and action to ensure that the must-run status for renewable energy is enforced and followed by all state load despatch centres,” he says.
He says he would not have achieved his success without his wife Sujata’s support. Karnataka remains home for the Nimbargis and if Sujata had her way, they would move there. Nimbargi has a son, who is studying engineering, and a daughter, who is still in school.
His hobbies include playing golf, reading and listening to music.