IIndian wind energy pioneer Tulsi Tanti, chairman and chief executive of Suzlon Energy, died on Saturday at the age of 64. The former billionaire suffered a cardiac arrest and died the same day, according to a company filing.
Tanti, who studied business and engineering, had entrepreneurship in her genes. Rejecting his father’s construction business, he and his three brothers started a textile business. Faced with soaring electricity costs, Tanti ordered two wind turbines for its textile factory. This gave him the idea to get into wind energy. He founded Suzlon in 1995 with his brothers by selling a homestead to raise $600,000 in seed capital.
“Our country needs energy for economic growth, and clean, green energy is the best option,” Tanti said. Forbes in 2006. That same year, Tanti broke into the ranks of billionaires with a net worth of $1.4 billion, having listed Suzlon in 2005. As of 2007, Tanti and his brothers were collectively worth $10 billion and Suzlon was the world’s most valuable wind turbine manufacturer. . Tanti was riding high, having won a hotly contested bid to acquire German rival Repower for $2 billion.
Soon after, Tanti faced headwinds as reports of poor blade quality from Suzlon caused his stock to plummet. The Tantis left the ranks of India’s wealthiest in 2012. Burdened with debt, Suzlon was forced to sell some assets to repay loans. Tanti found a white knight in pharmaceutical billionaire Dilip Shanghvi, who acquired a 20% stake in the company for the equivalent of $290 million. Today, Tantis own about 15%.
As a frontrunner in wind power, Suzlon was able to stabilize as the country set ambitious renewable energy targets. Today, it has about a third of the nation’s installed base with 13.5 gigawatts operational and an overseas presence spanning 17 countries. Tanti is survived by his wife and two children, Nidhi and Pranav.