25 May 2007

Innovation: GE Ecomagination Turning Green Into Green

Mary Milliken reports in Reuters/Planet Ark that GE's Ecomagination unit is beginning to pay off, proving that green can generate green:

General Electric Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said his "green" ecomagination unit was gaining steam and it launched 11 new products and services Thursday, including a hybrid locomotive and a carbon offset company.

Arguing that "green is green" -- environmental technology can generate serious money for GE -- Immelt said demand for green products and services exceeded expectations as awareness about global warming and energy conservation snowballed.
"Green is now becoming pervasive. It is becoming universal," Immelt said at a event at his group's Universal Studios.

"Work on energy efficiency, working on emissions reductions, conservation, clean water is simply good business. In our case, it has always been about growing the company."

Ecomagination has backlog of orders worth over US$50 billion and chalked up US$12 billion in sales last year. Despite the expanding market, Immelt has stuck with his sales target of US$20 billion in 2010.

"We are on our way to US$20 billion and I am convinced we can exceed that number and expand as time goes on," he said.

Among the ventures launched Thursday was the carbon emissions offset partnership with energy company AES Corp. to produce offsets for 10 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year by 2010.

With Union Pacific, GE unveiled hybrid locomotive that recycles energy and stores in in on-board batteries.

In the automotive sector, GE has also invested in the battery company, A123, which is working on the next generation of battery technology for hybrid and plug-in hubrid electric vehicles.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which says it is the largest private consumer of electricity in the world, has announced that more than 500 stores will use GE light emitting diodes (LEDs) to slash energy consumption in its refrigerated display cases.

And oil company BP Plc said it is forming a global alliance with GE to develop 10 to 15 hydrogen power projects that will cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.

"This is no longer a fringe topic. This is a niche topic. This is a mainstream topic that is being driven across the broad economy," Immelt added.

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