The World Can’t Wait
Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director, Ecomagination
The demand for clean energy solutions is profound. There is no doubt that the increasing appetite for global energy and concern over climate change have created tremendous pressure for change—the world can’t wait. The energy transition is upon us.
Last year, renewables surpassed coal, accounting for more than half of the global electricity capacity additions. Within the next five years, renewable energy will account for two-thirds of all capacity additions. Investing in clean energy has proven good for business, job creation, the economy and the world.
The power of digital to drive efficiency and reduce emissions will catalyze the transition even faster. By scaling a handful of digital solutions across power, aviation, lighting and beyond, there is the potential to realize savings of $81 billion in fuel costs annually, avoiding 823 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and closing the global carbon gap by 30%.
And while clean energy solutions are increasingly being added into the strategies of industry, there is still much more that needs to be done to accelerate an energy transition. Now more than ever, there is a need for business to lead.
For 12 years, GE has been committed to Ecomagination, our business strategy to deliver clean technology solutions that drive positive economic and environmental outcomes for our customers and the world. Ecomagination’s success has been and will continue to be based on our relentless focus on results and on investment in clean technology. Since we launched Ecomagination we have invested a total of $20 billion in cleaner technology solutions, and that has returned GE $270 billion in revenues. We have also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 42% since 2004 and reduced freshwater use by 53% since 2006. And we are not stopping here. We are committed to investing another $5 billion in Ecomagination solutions by 2020.
Our employees around the world are #EcoProud. Every day, they demonstrate exceptional passion, commitment and ingenuity for solving Ecomagination challenges. The 2016 EcoAwards program recognized projects implemented by employees that collectively generated an annual savings of 22,700 metric tons of C02e, 24.9M kWh of electricity and more than U.S. $47 million in annual cost savings for the Company, as well as other resource efficiency achievements.
Ecomagination has 74 qualified solutions in its portfolio of products that are pushing the boundaries of energy efficiency and emissions reductions across all sectors. We are working to deliver grid-parity wind power, 65% efficient combined-cycle gas power plants, solar inverters that provide the lowest-cost electrical architecture, and digital solutions to help our customers do more with less.
Collaboration is key to Ecomagination’s success. Partnerships are helping us accelerate progress and impact. We are working with companies including Total, Intel, Walmart and Statoil to develop new technology solutions and business models. Over the past seven years, Ecomagination has led 10 open innovation challenges bringing together “global talent” to address challenges including water reuse, energy cost, and intelligent energy-efficient lighting. And, last year, Ecomagination and GE Digital led the first student “hackathon” using GE’s Predix platform with California State University to reduce water and energy consumption across their campuses.
Clearly, the global energy transition is well underway. People, industry, governments and markets have spoken. The demand for more clean energy cannot be ignored. Ecomagination will continue to lead the way—the world can’t wait.