CREDIT: flickr/Duke Energy
General Electric Co.’s Energy Financial Services has invested about $10 billion in 17 gigawatts of renewable power since 2006, when the unit was formed. Now, GE has announced the unit plans to invest more than $1 billion a year in clean energy projects, such as wind and solar.
EFS Chief Executive Officer David Nason told Bloomberg News that renewable power is EFS’s fastest-growing energy market. “We see renewable energy providing very significant returns going forward,” Nason said. “We have a robust pipeline in the U.S. for the next couple of years.”
While GE’s core business is oil and gas infrastructure, the company is looking to invest in solar and wind because these forms of energy employ GE equipment such as wind turbines and power inverters. GE owns part of the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight solar farm, which is being built using GE power inverters. Wind farms under construction or completed across the U.S. and in other countries like Ireland use more than 4,400 GE wind turbines.
About $8 billion of GE’s $10 billion in renewable energy investments to date are in 12 gigawatts of wind farms, with most of the rest of the $2 billion going towards 1 gigawatt of solar power projects. These investments span 16 countries and 28 states.
And on Friday, GE announced it will expand its renewable energy horizon by making its first investment in a solar power project in India — $24 million in a 151 megawatt solar array built by Welspun Renewables Energy Pvt. Ltd (WREPL).
“The combination of our renewable project development expertise and GE’s financial strength and risk management will help achieve the ambitious goals set by the government to expand the use of renewable energy in India,” said Vineet Mittal, vice chairman at WREPL.
General Electric Co. executives recently announced they expect annual profit from energy investments to double to nearly $800 million by 2020, with CEO Jeff Immelt having made the area a key part of his desire to bring the company back to its manufacturing origins.