Green Products Help GE Weather Rough Economic Times

Green Products Help GE Weather Rough Economic Times

In a bright spot against the somber backdrop of a slowing economy, sales of General Electric's ecomagination products and services should top $17 billion this year, the company said Tuesday.

That's a 21 percent gain over 2007. GE wants to push that even further to $25 billion by 2010 for products -- such as wind turbines and home energy monitors -- that save businesses and individuals energy and resources as part of its ecomagination initiative. GE expects it will invest $1.4 billion in related research and development in 2008.

"There is a green lining among the current economic storm clouds and GE customers and investors are benefiting," Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

ecomagination is GE's overarching program that rests on environmentally-driven innovation. The company plans to spend $1.5 billion in R&D by 2010, and now has 70 ecomagination-certified products -- about four times the amount as in 2005.

A couple of hot spots across the company's various product portfolio include efficient locomotives, which generated $1.3 billion in revenue during the third quarter; consumer and industrial Energy Star appliances; and more than 2,200 advanced jet engines. The company also has formed a partnership with Google for smart grid development, and invested in other cleantech ventures, such as the solar power companies Soliant and Fotowatio.

In 2008, GE held water use and greenhouse gas emissions flat compared to 2006 and 2004 baselines, respectively. GE plans to use its own technology to help cut total greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent, and water consumption by 20 percent by 2012.