GE Store Connecting Renewables to the Global Grid
The ability to convert the blowing breeze into electricity that flows through the grid to power a hospital, school or business fascinates me. Tracing that energy value chain to its beginning we find an invisible and limitless energy source: the wind. Simply fascinating and inspiring.
A challenge for which GE is uniquely suited is unleashing this limitless energy onto the global grid so it can be available to the people and places who need it most. I’d like to talk about two ways we are helping to do this by 1) harnessing energy more efficiently to bring down energy cost, and 2) realizing the opportunities the GE Store offers in connecting this power to the world.
Reducing Energy Cost
Renewable power has reached grid parity in many parts of the world. Forward-looking energy policies have contributed significantly to this trend, as has continued investment. One investment we are extremely proud of is the acquisition of the world’s largest turbine blade maker, LM Wind Power. This will boost the performance of our wind turbines while also reducing the cost of energy for our customers. The hybrid technology used in these blades is more cost effective than completely carbon blades and is also less sensitive to manufacturing defects. More reliable blades reduces product cost, as does having local operations around the world, all helping make the cost of energy fall.
Connecting Energy to the Global Grid
With the ability to harness energy more efficiently comes the challenge of bringing it from the point of generation to where people are. This challenge can be daunting, particularly when the most abundant sources of renewables are great distances from these people. Such is the case with offshore wind which can be up to twice as productive as onshore wind. This is where we draw on the strength of the GE Store. I have a special fondness for the technology I’m about to mention because both it and GE Renewable Energy’s portfolio became what they are today with the acquisition of Alstom’s energy businesses, the largest acquisition in GE’s history.
This acquisition added high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology to GE’s grid portfolio giving us the ability to efficiently move offshore wind energy over great distances. GE will soon be using such technology to transmit enough clean renewable wind energy to power up to one million German homes. While our wind turbines will not necessarily be used for this particular project, the opportunity is tremendous. There are approximately 30 wind parks off the German coast in the North Sea today with nearly 90 more in the permitting phase. In the United States, new offshore wind projects for Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and Rhode Island will add 2GW of energy-generating capacity by 2025. GE is in a phenomenal position to help customers harness this limitless potential all over the globe and connect it efficiently to the grid.
Take a moment the next time you feel the wind on your face. The future of energy is closer than you think.