Energy and climate represent two of the most important business challenges of this century. Energy—its generation, use and transmission—is critical to both the global economy and individual advancement. Finding ways to help emerging economies meet rising demand for energy is essential for economic and human development.
As a key stakeholder in the energy sector, GE focuses on providing its customers with cleaner and more productive solutions to meet rising energy demand. At the same time, we are working in our own operations and value chains to increase resource efficiency in production.
Ecomagination is GE’s growth strategy to enhance resource productivity and reduce environmental impact on a global scale through commercial solutions for our customers, in our own operations and by developing strategic partnerships to solve some of the toughest environmental challenges to create a cleaner, faster, smarter tomorrow.
Since 2005, Ecomagination has become one of GE’s most successful initiatives: We have invested $20 billion in R&D and generated $270 billion in revenues from Ecomagination-qualified products.
For example, in 2016, GE, in partnership with EDF Energy, made history and won a Guinness World Records™ title for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant in Bouchain, France, with the Ecomagination-qualified 9HA.01 turbine—with a measured efficiency of 62%. The enhanced efficiency is achieved by running at higher temperatures made possible by using advanced materials, better thermal barrier coatings and more sophisticated cooling technology, boosted by the superior aerodynamics of the turbine’s curved blades. As a result, customers can respond quickly to grid demand fluctuations, integrating renewables as necessary.
Today we continue to measure our progress on resource efficiency through our 2020 commitments: to invest an additional $10 billion in Ecomagination R&D and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater use by 20%, from the 2011 baselines. Within our own operations, we have reduced our GHG emissions by 18% and freshwater use by 29% through 2016, from the 2011 baseline.
Since we launched our first operational goals, we have sharpened our strategy and efforts. Over the past decade, we have realized our best results through projects that deliver improved environmental performance and significant economic benefits, shown through cost reductions and productivity improvements. We’re finding that creating an Ecomagination culture has embedded a relentless drive to “lean” both our operations and their environmental impact. For example:
- In 2016, our GE Energy Connections facility in Peterborough, Canada, won top honors in GE’s annual EcoAwards competition by turning rooftop area into green space, reducing site VOC emissions by 60% and reducing noise emissions from the facility—achieved with inspiring engagement by employees and the local community.
- Our Rutland, Vermont, site has delivered approximately 46,000 tons of carbon emission reductions and saved the plant more than $5.2 million per year since 2006 through facility upgrades such as lighting, motors and control systems.
- Our GE Oil & Gas site in Massa, Italy, completed a substantial upgrade of equipment to reduce losses of the refrigerant R134a by improving handling, storage and gas recovery equipment. The site expects to observe emissions reductions of up to 44,000 tons of CO2e annually.
For more on Ecomagination, our energy and climate collaborations, and our progress, see Ecomagination Progress.