GE won the prestigious clean energy award the Zayed Future Energy Prize in Abu Dhabi last week.
The award was presented to GE vice-chairman John Rice during the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
The judging panel said GE had won because of its “leadership in the wind and solar energy markets”.
The panel noted that GE’s wind business alone has to date commissioned 41.3 GW of total generating capacity and installed more than 30,000 wind turbines.
After receiving the accolade for Best Large Corporation, GE’s vice-chairman John Rice spoke to me about the company’s work in renewables and how it sits alongside its traditional core business sectors of gas and steam turbines.
Rice explained that renewables account for about 10 per cent of GE’s overall portfolio and is “one of the fastest-growing businesses we have. It’s wind, solar, hydro and we are also heavily involved in power electronics – the technology that moves the power and converts it.”
He said that the rise of renewables as a viable business case was “a remarkable thing. When we got into the wind business [in the early 2000’s] I was in China and there was not a lot of interest in wind – the view was that it was too expensive – and I remember having discussions and feeling a little bit frustrated.
“Ten years later, and the biggest market for wind is China – so in a relatively short period of time it has gone from nothing to the largest. That reinforces to me how this is changing and how quickly it can change.”
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