2022 Distinguished Alumni Award: Sumant Sinha MIA ’92
Posted Oct 18 2022
Sumant Sinha is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of ReNew Power, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies. He has been at the forefront of India’s clean energy expansion and is recognized around the world as a leading entrepreneur and advocate for sustainable development and solutions to climate change.
I owe a lot to SIPA. If SIPA had not given me a fellowship, I never would have embarked on my life's trajectory. And at the same time, I think I also recognize that the area that I'm working in, has become enormously significant and important for the world at large.
Climate change, as we all know, is an existential crisis for humanity. There's just no other way of describing it, it will cause catastrophe changes to our climate, to sea level rise, and will cause mass migration and lead to a huge amount of vulnerable populations getting impacted. When I looked at the whole issue of how renewable energy could address this problem, I realized that three quarters of carbon emissions come from the energy sector, I felt that we were not as a world doing enough about it. And so I thought it would be a really good place in which to reshape my career into the way I see my role is really as a problem solver.
Today, we have a total portfolio of about 10 gigawatts of wind and solar farms setup across more than 130 sites in different parts of the country. We are the largest company in India. And over the years, we have now demonstrated that the cost of renewables can be brought down, we've helped create the entire ecosystem of hiring people training them. And now we are at the point where we are demonstrating the technology of how to combine renewables with batteries, which is essential to managing the date of the future. Therefore, the role that we are playing is fundamental to humanity's efforts to deal with climate change.
The thing that SIPA taught me was thinking independently and thinking globally, climate change is a multilateral problem. It involves multiple disciplines as well. SIPA brings together the disciplines of economics, international politics, human rights. And so I think SIPA can bring insights to this issue, which are fairly unique. But one other thing it gave me and that was the sense of giving 30 years ago, I was somebody who studied far away in India, and yet they chose to give me this fellowship. And I think that gave me the sense that giving back is extremely important, because that can
influence other people's lives in all sorts of ways that may take many, many years to play out. But the benefits of that can be quite enormous. Now, when I look at the future, it appears to me that we've only just begun to scratch the surface. The tasks that we need to address is absolutely enormous. My experience, if it has taught me something is that if you shoot for something big, then there's a fairly good chance that you might achieve it. But if you don't shoot for it, there's 100% chance that you won't achieve.
If you want to do things that are of meaningful impact. You must have the confidence and the self belief that you will be able to achieve it and that is half the battle won in trying to get something unique done with your life.