General Electric Co.'s energy investment business, buoyed by rising demand for alternative power, said yesterday it will increase its investment in renewable energy by 50 per cent, to $6-billion (U.S.) by 2010.
Alex Urquhart, president and chief executive officer of GE Energy Financial Services, cited record-high oil prices, an increased focus on environmental protection and improved technology for boosting interest in wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power.
In addition, large price spikes fade with the elimination of fossil fuels as an energy source, said Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy. "There are no fuel costs with wind and solar, no volatility," he said.
The most active investment in renewable energy for GE Energy is wind, representing about two-thirds of its portfolio, Mr. Urquhart said. The company's also invested in landfill gas-to-energy projects, solar power projects in California, a solar power plant in Portugal and other deals.
GE Energy also said yesterday it's investing in wind farm projects owned by Horizon Wind Energy LLC, a Houston-based developer that is a subsidiary of Energias de Portugal SA. The wind farms are in Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas.
The four wind farms will annually produce enough electricity to power more than 180,200 average homes in the United States and will avoid nearly 1.4 million tonnes a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with equivalent fossil fuel generation, GE Energy said.
With the Horizon deal, GE Energy has invested or committed to invest equity in 85 wind farms and increased its global wind equity holdings to more than 3,600 megawatts of generating capacity.