Top Ten General Electric Cleantech Initiatives


Since entering into the global renewable energy industry in the year 2002, General Electric has been recorded as investing over $850 million into various renewable energy technologies. In 2009, it was noted that General Electric’s renewable energy initiatives, which covered the gamut of renewable energy technologies, including solar and wind power, have employed over 4,900 individuals throughout the globe and an additional 10,000 supporting employment opportunities. General Electric knows that renewable energy technologies is an essential part of global energy needs and have committed to the design and implementation of solutions for renewable energy.

1) General Electric Donation to Abu Dhabi. In 2008, General Electric made a substantial $50 million dollar donation to Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Cleantech Fund. The money went to assist in the financing of a clean energy technology center in the city, known to a majority as the Masdar Initiative, the overall umbrella group for all present cleantech programs.

2) General Electric Investment into East Africa. General Electric has made it an important task to assist East Africa in obtaining renewable energy technologies. A majority of General Electric’s investment has been into Kenya, as it is the belief of General Electric that this African nation can be the central hub of African renewable energy technologies. Kenya has shown its geothermal energy potential and a tough wind corridor. Kenya’s large agrarian region also makes it suitable for biofuel capabilities. In Algiers, another East African nation, General Electric has created desalinization plants, as well as in more inland nations, General Electric wants to research further the recycling of water resources.

3) Opening of General Electric’s Kaluga Energy Technology Center in Russia. Toward the end of 2010, General Electric opened the Energy Technology Center in Russia. The Energy Technology Center is available to assist in the service and manufacturing of power generation equipment within the country, as well as assisting businesses in keeping power plants energy efficient. According to Russian governor Anatoly Dmitrievich Artamonov, the Energy Technology Center will increase Russia’s cleantech sector as well as provide new employment opportunities. General Electric has been an important part in increasing energy efficiency without the country by offering innovative programs and products designed to meet the needs of all customers.

4) GE Ecomagination Challenge. The General Electric Ecomagination Challenge is a $200 million innovation experiment whereby entrepreneurs, businesses, innovators, and university students share their innovative ideas on how to make positive improvements to the global energy future. Currently, General Electric is on Phase II of the challenge which focuses on home energy and is “looking for innovative technologies and processes that can dramatically improve the creation, management and use of energy in the home.”

5) GE Partnership with China. In 2009, General Electric created a lasting partnership with China that focuses on addressing two different joint ventures, “In avionics and locomotive engines; and the parties’ agreements to explore future ‘cleaner coal’ gasification and high-speed rail opportunities.” General Electric started working with China more than 100 years ago and today it owns more than 36 joint venture companies throughout the Chinese nation, including service, manufacturing, research, and development, and financial services. General Electric has employed more than 13,000 individuals in China.

6) Collaboration with BetterPlace. GE and Better Place announced on September 22, 2010 a technology and financing partnership to accelerate the global deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure through collaboration in four key areas: standards-based technology development, battery financing, joint fleet electrification programs and consumer awareness.

7) Providing to World’s Largest Wind Farm. General Electric Energy Financial Services, along with Caithness Energy, LLC as created the largest wind farm in the world. Known as the Caithness Shephards Flat project, this 845 megawatt wind farm will not only provide energy but also hundreds of new jobs within the region. General Electric will be supplying 338 of its 2.5xl wind turbines to the project, which have not yet been utilized within North America until now.

8 ) Smart Grid Technology Center of Excellence. The GE Energy Smart Grid Technology Center of Excellence, located in Atlanata, GA, is responsible for developing smart grid technology to markets around the world. The Center also manages the research and development of new technology for power plant automation, monitoring electrical grids and full integration of an energy internet. The solutions developed at the Center will build in efficiencies to optimize the resources of power plants, conserve natural resources and ultimately reduce electricity rates for industry and consumers.

9) WattStation. GE’s electric vehicle charger, GE WattStation, was released and designed to help decrease time needed for vehicle charging, and using smart grid technology to allow utility companies to manage the impact Electric Vehicles have on the local and regional grids. A commercial and residential station are now available.

10) Renewable Energy Global Headquarters in New York. In 2010, General Electric dedicated $45 million to the creation of their Renewable Energy Global Headquarters located in Schenectady, New York. These headquarters created over 650 new jobs and marked General Electric’s installation of the 13,5000th wind turbine around the globe. The headquarters meet the United States’ Green Building Council’s LEED green building standards and will be more energy efficient that the standard set up by the State of New York. The headquarters is also home to the Remote Operations Center – one of only two facilities around the globe providing diagnostic and monitoring services for installed base of solar power electronics and wind turbines.

Article by Shawn Lesser & Ben Taube.

Shawn Lesser is Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. . He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

Ben Taube currently serves as the Executive Director of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) which is a nonprofit headquartered in Atlanta, GA with a mission to deploy energy efficiency across 11 southeast States. The organization is comprised of public and private interests. Ben also serves as the Chair of the Global Cleantech Cluster Association. Mr. Taube has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Memphis and a Masters in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver.



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