The future has only just begun

My constant endeavor is to push forward, to go a few steps ahead – in thinking and in action. But as we look ahead, it’s also important to look at the past and learn from it. And what better time to take stock, and to set our sights to the future, than the New Year?

To me this New Year is especially important; it marks not only the beginning of a new year, but of a new decade. I look to this decade from the prism of the last ten years which have been a whirlwind of momentous events – a decade where my dreams took shape, and our vision drew closer to reality despite the very real economic pressures of the global crash.

As I look back, it is heartening to see how far we have come in such a short time. At the start of the decade, the wind industry was yet to take-off; with just a handful of players and embryonic technology, the future of the sector seemed uncertain. Today, competition has increased four-fold and wind turbine design has evolved with sophisticated materials, electronics, and aerodynamics; and at the same time costs have declined, making wind increasingly competitive. As wind energy has grown in leaps and bounds the most dramatic change has perhaps been in the shift in the epicenter of the industry – crossing half the world from Europe to Asia.

My own venture, Suzlon, which entered the decade as an emerging player from a developing economy, touched remarkable heights. Just two months ago Suzlon and Repower together clocked 15,000 megawatt of installations around the world – onshore and offshore. Like any other, the journey was not all smooth – but with the challenges, there have also been triumphs: bringing together a family of 13,000 members, becoming a global company – going from only India to over 32 countries, fielding some of world’s largest wind turbines and setting up some of the world’s largest windfarms – all achieved in this past decade. However, the most prized for me has been the opportunity to provide communities with access to secure energy and decent, sustainable green jobs while helping to put in place the building blocks for a greener tomorrow.

But we have barely scratched the surface. I believe that the past decade bought about what I can only call an ‘era of awakening’; a decade where the world woke up to the perils caused by the pattern of human behavior, the dangers posed by climate change and the dire need for energy security. And now – in this New Year and decade – like never before, it is time for action.

The next ten years are critical. Most nations have set climate related targets for the year 2020 – I am certain that these are achievable if we all play our part; and I for one am determined to do my bit. I have always maintained that the fight against climate change is across borders, the means to sustainable development do not fall in any one country or group’s domain. All our efforts – of each and every one of us – must tie in to building a sustainable, low-carbon economy for the world.

Speaking as a part of the wind sector, I am glad that wind energy is increasingly being recognized for what it can truly deliver: secure energy, secure development and even a secure economy. Even in the midst of this global turmoil from the financial crisis and its aftershocks, the renewable energy industry – wind prominently among them – offered new avenues for employment. The growth in the past decade – despite several hurdles – has given us the promise of a bright future. As we look ahead, our need for energy is greater than ever – and so is the need to make this sustainable. There are miles to go, the race to a greener future has only just begun, but we at Suzlon are committed to reaching the finishing line and securing our planet for future generations.