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GE storage venture another nail in coffin of ‘wild west’ industry behaviour

GE’s intention to move into the energy storage industry is a further sign that the sector is maturing, a leading analyst has said.

Last week GE (General Electric) said it wanted to become a major player in the industrial energy storage industry. The announcement coincided with a 5% drop in Tesla’s share price.

Cosmin Laslau, senior analyst for energy storage at Lux Research said the move by GE was a sing of the industry’s “increasing maturity”.

“To date stationary energy storage has been a bit of a wild west,” said Laslau, “with many start-ups jostling for initial deployments and large companies sitting patiently on the sidelines. GE’s renewed push into energy storage – in a broader, more inclusive way, beyond a single chemistry – makes it an important contender here.

“It will face strong competition, but GE has a solid track record, above-average integration and project engineering expertise, and excellent relationships that will help it in the long run,” predicted Laslau.

Image: wikimedia commons User: Momoneymoproblemz.
Despite the fall in Tesla stocks, Laslau does not see GE’s plans, which were revealed in an interview with Reuters, severely impacting on Tesla.

“If that’s what indeed caused Tesla’s share price to drop, then it was a disproportionate and misguided response. GE and Tesla play in different parts of the value chain, Tesla in cells and packs, GE in inverters, control systems, even financing. There’s some overlap, but we would not classify them as direct competitors,” he said.

With Tesla CEO Elon Musk having welcomed competition in the past, Laslau views the success of a GE energy storage venture as broadly in line with his public claims.

“Musk’s companies are somewhat unique in that they claim to be pursuing altruistic goals for humanity rather than short-term returns. For example, one of Tesla’s stated mission is to get other OEMs and developers to commercialize energy storage and electric vehicles. So Musk would probably view it as a win for humanity if the world bought electric vehicles and stationary energy storage batteries en masse, even if Tesla wasn’t the supplier of those cars and batteries.

“That’s the altruistic talk track from their side, anyway. In practice, at some point these companies do have turn a profit, and in practice, Musk’s company will benefit if these adoption goals do come true,” said Laslau.

Tesla (TSLA) Tanks as G.E. (GE) Eyes Energy Storage, Baidu Plunges on Weak … -

— The Tesla Channel (@TheTeslaChannel) July 28, 2015

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