Valued at $266 billion, General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) isn't exactly a growth stock. Yet one of its fastest growing units has managed to capitalize on an energy revolution that so many others have ignored -- here's what you need to know.
The answer, my friend ...
General Electric Company announced in March that it would pour billions more into wind energy research -- and while R&D is awful nice, it doesn't always turn into proven profit. That all changed last week, when General Electric Company revealed that it has received a whopping 3,900 MW of wind turbine orders since the start of last year.
To put that number in perspective, GE's orders in the past 17 months alone are equivalent to around 6.4% of our nation's entire wind capacity. That amount of energy is also equivalent to around one-third of the United States' total solar power system.
Wind energy is a part of General Electric Company's Power and Water unit, which saw operating revenue soar 14% to $5.5 billion for Q1 2014. That makes it the second-largest industrial unit by sales, just $270 million behind Aviation. The same holds true for profit, where Power and Water managed to pull in $888 million in this latest quarter.
The best is yet to come
While GE has undoubtedly benefited from the U.S. government's renewable-energy tax credit extension, the company is taking steps to ensuring wind isn't going anywhere. To date, GE has installed just 1,000 MW of its orders, meaning the company has a strong order backlog for at least the next couple of years.
"We feel confident that, with our strong backlog of orders, we are strongly positioned for 2014 and 2015," said Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE's renewable-energy business, in GE's order announcement press release. "As we continue to expand our brilliant wind product line, our customers are seeing efficiencies and capabilities greater than ever before in the wind industry. Through these advancements in technology, combined with strong execution and operations expertise, GE is continuing our commitment to our customers' success and investment in the future of renewable energy."
General Electric benefits from its "Big Energy" status, allowing it unprecedented scale and capital, as well as the ability to build off existing partnerships with energy producers, utilities, and governments. And with a global presence, you can expect General Electric to take international advantage of its growing wind energy business. Last month, the company unveiled a wind turbine built specifically for India and is continually exploring all aspects of the industry. From offshore opportunities to management software to rotor blade extensions, GE wants to be everyone's "go-to guy."
Winning with wind
The U.S. Department of Energy wants to drop land-based wind power costs by 18% and offshore wind by 63% by 2020 -- and General Electric does, too. If they're successful, wind energy will be more self-sufficient and competitive than it is today, and GE will be poised for major profit. The company isn't making a bet -- it's making a calculated investment of its own. And if this latest round of announcements is any evidence, it's a decision that will pay dividends for decades to come.
Justin Loiseau and The Motley Fool own shares of General Electric. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.