General Electric sees huge growth in clean energy business

GE Energy, a business unit of the General Electric Company (GE), announced on May 16th that it expects its 2005 revenues for wind energy to exceed $2 billion, a 300 percent increase over 2002, its first year of wind energy operations. GE Energy has received order and commitments for 2,400 megawatts of new wind power capacity worldwide, including 1,650 megawatts in the United States. That represents two-thirds of the new wind capacity to be installed this year, according to the latest projection by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). See the GE press release.

The success of its wind energy business may be one of the driving forces for "ecomagination," a GE initiative announced on May 9th that includes a doubling of the company's investments in research and development for clean energy. By 2010, GE intends to invest $1.5 billion annually in cleaner technologies, up from $700 million in 2004. GE also intends to double its revenues from environmentally preferable products, including (but not limited to) wind and solar energy, technologies and materials that make energy production and consumption more efficient, and cleaner and more efficient transportation technologies. GE also intends to increase its energy efficiency and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent by 2012. At currently projected growth rates, the company's greenhouse gas emissions would increase 40 percent by 2012 without energy efficiency improvements. See the GE press release.

Although wind power is booming this year, the industry saw slow growth in the United States in 2004, with only 389 megawatts of new wind capacity installed. That in turn caused little change in AWEA's annual ranking of the top states for wind power capacity as well as the largest wind facilities, the leading wind power owners, the top manufacturers, and the utilities that buy the most wind power. California and Texas continued to lead the states in wind power capacity in 2004.

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