India’s largest wind energy company, Suzlon Energy, now has cumulative wind energy installations of 5000 MW. The wind energy farms generate enough green energy to mitigate 8.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year. Suzlon’s success can be attributed to its aggressive business approach which has made it the world’s third largest and Asia’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. Suzlon now has operations in five continents and has completed some highly notable acquisitions on its way to becoming one of the leading wind energy companies.
Suzlon Energy was founded in 1995 by Tulsi Tanti when he decided to generate captive power for one of his textile factories in Gujarat. By 2001, Mr. Tanti had sold off his textile business to concentrate on the wind energy sector. Under his leadership, Suzlon slowly grew into an end-to-end wind energy solutions provider. The company benefited from the scores of industries which wanted captive power as the national grid still had not reached many remote areas.
Wind energy enjoys the advantage of being competitive with conventional power generating resources like coal and gas. Wind energy is the biggest contributor to India’s renewable energy basket, contributing 70 percent of the 17,174 MW of renewable energy installation. Suzlon Energy contributes more than 40 percent to India’s total wind energy installation and almost 30 percent of total renewable energy installation.
Being an Indian company, Suzlon had the edge over European companies (traditional leaders in wind energy technology), as the cost of manufacturing and labor is very low in India. But it still needed to master the science of wind turbines and blades to get to where it is today. For this, Suzlon made several acquisitions, RePower and Hansen Transmissions being the most notable ones. These acquisitions gave Suzlon the capabilities it needed to build new and more powerful wind turbines with lighter but more efficient blades.
Suzlon has several large-scale wind farms spread along the western and southern coasts of India, areas blessed with great wind energy potential. States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the leading wind energy states in India. The company has won several projects for setting up wind farms from private companies. One can see thousands of wind turbines spread across several hundreds of miles along the Tamil Nadu coast.
The company, however, has had its share of problems. It had to spend $100 million on a retrofitting project after more than 1,200 blades supplied to American wind farms failed due to cracking. Suzlon’s share at the Indian stock exchanges have seen a share decline during the last couple of years with the worldwide economic crisis. It also suffered a loss of $195 million during April to June this year. However, the company has quite ambitious expansion plans as it endeavors to increase its presence in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector.
Suzlon Energy recently bagged a $250 million project to install a 200 MW wind energy farm in India, this would be one of the largest projects executed by the company. It also plans to invest $1.6 billion in the UK to open a new wind turbine manufacturing facility.
Photo by nateOne/Flickr/Creative Commons
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.
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