GE To Double Green R&D to $10 Billion by 2015

General Electric has already invested $5 billion in research and development for its ecomagination line of energy efficient and environmentally friendly products and services, and plans to double that amount by 2015, the company announced Thursday.

GHG emissions from GE’s operations have been reduced 22 percent from a 2004 baseline, and energy intensity has increased 34 percent compared to 2004, according to the company’s ecomagination 2009 annual report (PDF).

Introduced in 2005, the ecomagination line generated over $18 billion in revenues for the company in 2009, a six percent increase over the previous year. It has grown from 17 products to over 90 – everything from compact florescent lightbulbs to fuel-efficient locomotives.

GE predicts that revenues from the ecomagination line will grow at twice the rate of the rest of the company over the next five years.

GE’s emissions reductions, like reductions economy-wide, are in part a result of the economic slowdown. GE aims to reduce emissions a further 3 percent by 2015, to 25 percent below the 2004 levels. The company also reported it had reduced water use by 30 percent from a 2006 baseline.

The company operates in more than 100 countries, and it showed in the ecomagination report, which documented environmentally friendly projects run by GE as disparate as a bio-gas generator at a poultry farm in China, a combined heat and power facility in Macedonia, and a 14 megawatt solar array at Nellis Air Force Base in California.

GE has also invested in several cleantech companies through its financial services arms, including battery maker A123 Systems.

GE was the world’s biggest company in 2009 (it is now #2 behind JPMorganChase), according to Forbes, with sales of $157 billion and profits of $11 billion.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.

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