General Electric Company (GE 0.99%) announced $10 billion of clean energy investments this week, and wind energy is winding up for more innovation than ever before. General Electric Company has been a major player in wind energy for years -- here's where it's headed next.
General Electric Company's "ecomagination" initiative just got a $10 billion green light from Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt for more research and investments. Understandably, considering the cross-company business has brought in $160 billion in sales and saved General Electric Company itself around $300 million from efficiency improvements.
The new influx of funds will be split between wind, cutting water use out of fracking, and improving power plant efficiency. For wind energy, General Electric Company hopes to improve its technology in two ways: reduce costs and improve output.
Wind for the win?
Already, General Electric has made significant inroads with wind technology. The company has 12 different turbines on the market, as well as wind energy storage products designed to make the most of each breeze.
When General Electric unveiled a new 1.7 MW turbine last May, NextEra Energy (NEE 1.16%) immediately ordered up 59 for a Michigan wind farm. With over 10,000 net MW of wind capacity to its name, NextEra Energy is the undisputed wind leader in North America -- and its choice of General Electric turbines says a lot.
One potential source of major profit in years to come is offshore wind. Government estimates suggest that offshore wind offers more than 4,000,000 MW of capacity -- that's four times our nation's current electricity use. General Electric already offers a massive 4.1 MW turbine ready for offshore use. The model has been in use since 2005 and offers high reliability with low operating expenses.
The Federal Bureau of Ocean Management has been selling off long-term leases to windy ocean areas, and Dominion Resources (D 1.57%) has been gobbling them up. The utility won the auction for 113,000 acres off the coast of Virginia last September, and it's currently rooting for another 80,000 acres off the Maryland Coast. Dominion Resources also has a $4.5 million grant from the Department of Energy to conduct more research and run a pilot project -- initiatives that are in line with General Electric's own antics. If offshore wind picks up, General Electric and Dominion Resources will be in perfect opportunities to grab major sales.