New Delhi, India [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] GE launched its Rural Electrification program to help bring electricity to thousands of people in rural India, reconfirming a commitment made earlier this year. In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which will contribute $600,000, GE and its network of experts, technology centers and partners will invest up to $2.7 million in direct and indirect funding.While GE’s primary focus in India has been on gas turbines and gas engines, the company believes there is potential for furthering energy independence of communities through solar and wind power. The joint program with USAID, in which GE pledged to support the ‘Power to All by 2012’ and ‘Rural Electrification/ Rural Business Hub’ initiatives as launched by the Indian government, is in response to the high percentage (56%) of India’s 700 million rural residents who lack adequate and/or reliable power supplies. “The current partnership between USAID and GE to promote commercially viable rural electrification systems will help translate the vision of our two nations’ leaders into concrete, practical applications on the ground,” said Robert Blake, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy. GE Energy will deploy power-generation technologies to support the India rural electrification effort, incorporating renewable energy technologies from its ecomagination portfolio — products that generate electricity through the use of renewable, biogas or waste gas technologies, as well as high-efficiency, low-emissions gas turbines and engines. To provide customized power solutions based on availability of local fuel resources, the GE Global Research Center in Bangalore developed an integrated hybrid technology model, which combines various forms of renewable energy — it demonstrates a paradigm shift from electrical connectivity to economic connectivity. In addition to economic empowerment for the people of India, providing access to more reliable power will further health care services, enhance agricultural productivity, increase access to clean water, and develop new skills.