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GE combines solar, storage and energy efficiency with startup company Current

GE's new startup is expected to create around 200 new jobs. Image: GE.
Multinational conglomerate corporation General Electric (GE) has announced Current, a new energy company that combines GE’s LED, solar, energy storage and electric vehicle businesses with its Predix platform to single out and provide cost-effective and efficient energy solutions to customers.

Maryrose Sylvester, who has served as president and CEO at GE Lighting, will lead the new undertaking.

Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, said: “Current combines GE’s products and services in energy efficiency, solar, storage, and onsite power with our digital and analytical capabilities to provide customers – hospitals, universities, retail stores, and cities – with more profitable energy solutions.

“The creation of a new company within GE reinforces our commitment to take energy to the next level, focusing on custom outcomes for our commercial and industrial customers, municipalities and utility partners, and delivering a platform that can be upgraded as technology advancements are made.”

Current will get underway with over US$1 billion of revenue and plans on introducing a new energy service that includes sensor-enabled hardware, software, fulfillment, product management and financing solutions. 

By utilising the Predix platform, GE will be able to examine energy consumption and inform customers with data readings and recommendations on ways to boost efficiency. These solutions are expected to help consumers save an estimated 10-20% on their energy bills, as well as help utility partners improve on ways to manage their load.

In late July, GE signalled its intent to be a major player in storage. At the time, Cosmin Laslau, an analyst with Lux Research told PV Tech Storage that GE's involvement was a sign of the industry maturing. A month later in August, GE completed work on its biggest storage project to date, a 30MW lithium-ion battery-based system in California, while a demonstrator project for liquid air energy storage (LAES) technology in the UK invested in by GE got underway that same month.

'Future proofed solutions'

GE vice chair Beth Comstock, whose management of business innovation includes Current, said: “We’ve been transforming the power and lighting sector since GE’s inception. Energy is part of our legacy, part of our genetic code. And digital code is a big part of our future. Once again, we have an opportunity with Current as a startup to lead another significant change in energy delivery.

“Commercial enterprises can’t afford complexity and inefficiency in energy solutions if they are to remain competitive. They are looking for ‘future proofed’ solutions. From the socket to the grid, we understand how the electrons flow and have the unique position to optimize energy regardless of the scenario or customer.”

Several clients, including Walgreens, Simon Property Group, Hilton Worldwide, JPMorgan Chase, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Intel and Trane, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, have already tested Current’s solutions in an effort to spur energy efficiency and lower costs.

Current will be headquartered in the Boston metropolitan area, with an added presence in the Silicon Valley. Operations have already begun at Current, which is expected to create around 200 new jobs.

Additional reporting by Andy Colthorpe.

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