Francis Suresh Balan is the chief executive officer (CEO), CGS Green Sustainergy Private Limited, responsible for handling projects in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicle (EV) domains in India and abroad. A BEE-certified energy manager and a Bureau Veritas-certified ISO 14064 auditor, he has been selected by the Asian Development Bank for capacity building and implementing rooftop solar projects in India. In the past, he has worked in senior management positions with companies such as AWS Truepower LLP, WinDForce Management Services, Darashaw and Company Private Limited, and Efficient Carbon Management Solutions Llp, as well as with an NGO, Non-conventional Energy and Rural Development, which implements solar, wind and biogas projects for rural applications. Balan has completed consulting advisory for around 800 MW of solar and 300 MW of wind power capacity, and has devised environment development plans for 30 villages in Maharashtra.
Commenting on the sector, he says, “To capture the benefits of renewables, India needs to make available the necessary capital, and get comfortable with managing the variability and uncertainty of renewable generation in conjunction with existing and planned fossil fuel-based and large power plants. Financing is a key challenge in achieving this goal. Further, the transmission infrastructure needs to be designed such that it enables power transfer from renewable-rich areas to poor areas, and ensures more cost-effective system balancing.”
For Balan, the most exciting part of his current role is the challenge in managing projects, clients, his team and vendors. His management style varies from employee to employee, as he has found that a one-size-fits-all style does not work since people are different.
Balan has a B.Tech in energy and environment engineering and an M.Tech in environmental engineering from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, and NIT Karnataka, Surathkal, respectively. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D in sustainability from VIT University and an MBA (finance) from Bharathidasan University.
In his spare time, he enjoys watching business-related movies or television series. His favourites are The Founder, The Boiler Room and Money Ball. He also enjoys listening to music and motivational speeches, and going on drives. In the long term, he would like to become a competitor to major corporates. His future goal is to create more entrepreneurs and more employment by focusing on unorganised sectors such as EV retrofitting.