Industrial Heavyweight Sees Greener Future

By tapping into the Renewable Energy markets and finding ways to increase efficiencies of existing technologies, General Electric’s future may be tinged with a hint of green.

Orlando, Florida – December 17, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] By 2003, approximately 85 percent of GE Power Systems’ total revenues will come from cleaner, more efficient or Renewable Energy solutions, the company reported at the recent Power-Gen International 2002. “From advanced, more efficient technology for natural gas fired-turbines, boiler optimization and IGCC, to the promising wind power industry…across all of our business sectors, we are responding to the fuel efficiency and environmental requirements of our customers worldwide,” said John Rice, president and CEO of GE Power Systems. Traditional GE technologies now focused on cleaner and more efficient operation include natural gas-fired turbines and combined-cycle plants, gas turbine upgrades and service and steam turbine upgrades. Newer areas of development include network solutions, substation automation, plant optimization and “smart” sensors. These technology sectors are expected to produce about 79 percent of GE Power Systems’ total sales next year, with the rapidly growing Renewable Energy segment – wind, small hydro and geothermal – representing six percent of revenues for the year. “We see tremendous interest in Renewable Energy solutions around the world,” said Rice. “As these technologies continue to improve and become increasingly cost effective, they will become even more attractive to the public and to our customers.” One of the newest additions to the GE technology family, wind energy, offers vast potential, with the global wind market continuing to show double-digit annual growth. As technology advances and the installed base of wind turbines grows, the cost of wind-generated electricity is becoming increasingly competitive with other energy options. GE Wind Energy, formed after GE’s acquisition of Enron Wind, brings to the wind industry a broad base of advanced technology, experience and synergies with other GE businesses. The company has developed and/or sold more than 5,400 wind turbines with a rated capacity exceeding 3,000 MW. Its latest technology development is the 3.6 MW wind turbine, one of the largest such machines in the world. GE also is active in the geothermal sector of the Renewable Energy industry. As a recent example, GE supplied six geothermal steam turbine-generators for an ENEL repowering project in Italy. GE, along with ExxonMobil and Stanford University, recently announced a multi-million dollar collaborative research project to identify and develop alternative and next-generation energy technologies. This unprecedented effort is an extension of the research GE already is doing in hydrogen, fuel cells, solar and wind technologies.
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