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G.E. to Double Investments in Renewables to $4B

With its purchase of a Canadian hydroelectric plant and investments in two wind farms, General Electric's Energy Financial Services has begun a plan to double its investments to $4 billion by 2010.

G.E. will acquire, for $180 million, two 50 percent stakes in wind farms in Texas, the first in Sweetwater and the second in Roscoe. The two farms have a total output of 450 megawatts, upping G.E.'s total wind power portfolio to 1,900 megawatts worldwide.

A 196 MW hydroelectric plant being developed by Plutonic Power in British Columbia is the other purchase announced by G.E. The company is buying 49 percent of the 'run of the river' project, which does not involve damming, for U.S.$104 million.

G.E. Financial Services also sid it would become one of the first financial institutions to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions from its power plant equity investments. GE's annual ecomagination report reveals that greenhouse gas emissions from the plants equal about 10.94 million metric tons. The report also says the company is working with the World Resources Institute and other organizations to develop a greenhouse gas accounting protocol to cover a wider range of financial instruments.

"We are taking these steps because 'green is green' -- good for the environment and for business -- not only for GE's manufacturing but its financial services businesses," said Alex Urquhart, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. "In keeping with GE's ecomagination program, we are growing consistently and aggressively while helping customers overcome environmental challenges."

The renewable energy business is GEFS's fastest growing business area. The company said its worldwide investing in wind, solar, biomass and geothermal renewable energy. Those investments have grown from $630 million in 2004 to $2 billion today.

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