Clean Revolution leader: Suzlon

17 January 2012

This summarized case study is one of an initial set of eight success stories which illustrate the emerging global leadership of the Clean Revolution.

Suzlon: India's wind industry leader

In 1995, Founder and Chairman & Managing Director Tulsi Tanti established Suzlon to support his family-owned textile business in Gujarat, in the face of unreliable grid-sourced power and high prices.

By late 2005 Suzlon’s listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange had grown its market capitalization to $8 billion.

Born as a solution to the challenges of energy security in India, the firm has now transformed from a start-up to a major multinational employing 13,000 people, with a global headquarters powered 100% by renewable energy in Pune and operating facilities in North and South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa.

The Suzlon Group is a vertically integrated wind company which manufactures and maintains turbines as well as operating its own wind farms, and it now has a combined global market share of 8.4%, with over 17 GW installed.

With the number-one spot in India's wind industry for 11 consecutive years and a 50% share of the market for the past ten years, in terms of installed capacity, Suzlon is the third largest in Asia and fifth worldwide.

Innovative leadership

As well as securing affordable energy, the growing international market for wind power in the late 1990s and early 2000s provided another strong driver for Suzlon’s growth. Suzlon's strategic advantages, in its broad scope from manufacture to generation and global R&D base, enabled it to secure early contracts in the US and critical mainstream investment.

Alongside a strongly entrepreneurial business approach, it is clear that the realization of wind power’s social and environmental benefits has driven a strong values-based approach in Tulsi Tanti’s leadership and Suzlon’s push for expansion, as Tanti’s recent environmental awards attest. As well as being a successful business leader, Tanti has become a vocal advocate on climate change and renewable energy. He has received numerous awards including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2006), Champion of the Earth (2009) by the United Nations Environment Program, and ‘Hero of the Environment’ from TIME Magazine. Tanti also joined The Climate Group’s International Leadership Council in 2010.

More recently the company has established wind farms in the USA, China, Australia and Brazil, as well as manufacturing facilities in China to meet local requirements for indigenous production.

Download Tulsi Tanti's recent Let's Save the Planet document here. 

Clean energy future for all

However much wind power is produced, coal remains cheap, abundant and dominant internationally. For high-growth economies like India and China, the energy discussion must focus on how to provide energy to one billion people while limiting environmental impact and the depletion of fossil fuel resources, and as an energy source that drives sustainable economic growth, wind is core to India’s renewable energy market.

Yet in 2007 only 7% of India’s energy came from wind, comprising 70% of the total renewable input in India. With policies like feed-in tariffs, renewable energy certificates and ‘wheeling and banking’ (financial policy incentives to develop wind in the windiest locations in India), wind has grown exponentially but remains a minority energy source that will need to continue to grow to challenge coal’s dominance.

As the wind industry grows, Suzlon also faces mounting competition in the international market from Chinese turbine producers like Sinovel and Goldwind.

But India boasts a large, well trained work force, a booming economy, a growing thirst for energy and a clear vision on climate change and clean energy, which are the ingredients for a clean energy revolution. 

And with a steady 50% share in India’s wind market, Suzlon looks set to meet the Renewable Energy Development Agency’s Five Year Plan’s goal of 40 GW for installed wind capacity in India by 2022, and to lead the Clean Revolution in India.

You can find out the secrets of Suzlon's great success, learn about 'cooperative competition' and know what the world's business leaders must do to realize the Clean Revolution in our Interview with Tulsi Tanti Founder, Director and Chairman, Suzlon.

Your leadership

Suzlon's leading work is just part of The Clean Revolution. Your leadership will drive The Clean Revolution - and your leadership is needed now. We’re looking for business and government leaders who can either help support the campaign or provide us with compelling case studies. Join now to help us deliver a better, smarter, more prosperous future for all

Use the #CleanRevolution hash tag to show its leadership in action if you use Twitter

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