GE launches 30,000-turbine renewable energy business

American conglomerate General Electric (GE) has launched a new renewable energy business after acquiring France-based Alstom's power and grid businesses for €12.35bn earlier this month.

The new business, branded GE Renewable Energy, already incorporates more than 30,000 wind turbines.

“Today is an exciting day for the future of the wind industry,” said Jérôme Pécresse, the president of the new business.

“With the creation of our new business, GE now has one of the world’s largest renewable energy footprints, and our goal is to help drive the wind industry forward by drawing on the shared expertise of two innovative companies.”

The new business expands the corporation’s reach in Latin America, and Europe, where its installed base is expected to grow by 50%

New frontiers

The new business will also feature a new offshore wind unit – a first for GE – informed by Alstom’s experience in the European market.

GE said the offshore unit already has significant backlog of orders with EDF in France and has been selected for the Merkur offshore project in Germany.

“Offshore wind is a challenging industry, but we believe the market has real potential,” said Anders Soe-Jensen, the president GE’s offshore wind unit.

“Our goal is to work closely with customers to continue validating our technology as we begin to scale and grow the business.”

Green leader

The Renewable Energy offering is the second ‘green’ business unit launched by GE in the past couple of months. In October, GE launched GE a $1bn clean energy start-up which aimed to deliver “the most cost-effective, efficient energy solutions required by customers today and in the future”.

Earlier in November, GE also launched a series of partnerships with companies including Total, Walmart, BHP Billiton and Intel, looking at innovative ways to boost water and energy efficiency.

These initiatives and others saw GE ranked by sustainability experts as one of the companies that has made the biggest contribution to advancing solutions to climate change in the past five years.

Sector maturity

In related news, Italian utility Enel bought back its renewable energy subsidiary, which it had publically listed, in a deal worth more than €3bn.

The firm’s CEO told the Financial Times that the renewables industry had evolved from being centred on government incentives more than a decade ago, to being based on cheap funding, and was turning towards a third phase of “maturity and industrial growth”.

Brad Allen

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