Energy & Climate

Energy Consumption

Researchers at work in the Smart Grid lab at GE's Global Research center in Niskayuna, NY.

Climate and energy represent two of the most important business challenges of this century. Energy—its generation, use and transmission—is critical to the global economy and personal advancement. Finding ways to help emerging economies meet rising demand for energy—set to grow 40% over the next two decades—is essential for bringing those economies out of poverty and improving human development. On the other hand, expanding fossil fuel use is leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, which threatens future development. As a key company in the energy sector, GE is focused on helping its customers deliver more energy from more varied and cleaner sources while producing fewer environmental impacts in its operations and value chains.

To respond to this challenge and engage with governments on these issues, GE has made a significant commitment to optimizing our own use of energy and other resources that are critical to the continued economic growth of emerging markets and industries. Increasing resource constraints are driving innovation in how we manage, use and reuse critical materials throughout our products’ value chains. Through this innovation, GE hopes to remain a leader in sustaining business growth appropriate for the diversity of market needs in our society today.

For metrics regarding energy usage, view our Planet metrics.

At GE, energy use and GHG emissions are managed by a cross-functional team of experts from the Engineering, Operations, Finance, Environmental, Sourcing and Legal organizations working with colleagues in GE’s Global Research Centers. This cross-functional approach is a very effective mechanism for driving various aspects of energy-use reduction into GE’s operations, and uses a variety of strategies: operational footprint reductions; new-technology introductions; utilities sourcing; innovative financing; and compliance strategies for reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in various jurisdictions, including the U.S. EPA’s reporting requirements, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the U.S. Northeast, and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Such an approach allows GE to focus on optimizing energy use, controlling GHG emissions, and fulfilling our regulatory obligations.

In 2012, GE developed and released its ecoFramework toolkit, for managing energy use in global operations. It focuses on both employee and leadership engagement in driving energy conservation, as well as the technical aspects of managing energy use and related equipment. This framework leverages our experience in developing management systems for our Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) programs.

GHG and Energy Goals

GE has set aggressive goals for reducing its GHG emissions and improving its energy intensity over a 10-plus-year period. These goals are broken down and measured year-over-year in a way that allows us to ensure that we continue to make incremental progress toward our “stretch” goals.

GE’s GHG reduction goal is to reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25% by 2015 from 2004 levels. Annually, our GHG reduction objective is a 2.5% year-over-year absolute emissions reduction.

GE’s energy-intensity improvement goal is to improve our energy intensity by 50% by 2015 over the 2004 baseline. Annually, we attempt to achieve a 5% year-over-year energy-intensity improvement. Note that GE measures energy intensity as millions of BTUs normalized by millions of dollars of revenue. 

Optimizing GE’s Energy Use

GE uses several processes to identify opportunities to optimize energy use. We continue to use the Energy Treasure Hunt process, leveraged from Toyota, to identify projects that drive efficiency into our operations. Treasure Hunts are run by people from various functions in GE’s businesses, and are supported by a team of experts from GE’s Global Research Centers. During 2012 alone, nearly 350 projects that optimize energy use were identified and planned for implementation across GE’s global operations. Once complete, these projects will result in 32,000 metric tons (MT) of CO2e being eliminated from GE’s operations—equivalent to the carbon sequestered annually by more than 26,200 acres of U.S. forest. Over $3.5 million was saved from these projects. Since GE adopted the Energy Treasure Hunt approach, more than 2,700 projects have saved an estimated $275 million, and avoided GHG emissions of over 800,000 MT. 

GE has 10 global facilities that are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)–certified, and in 2011 GE won the prestigious Carbon Saver Gold Standard award as part of the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) program. We use our own energy-efficient and renewable technologies across our facilities, in GE operations from Durham, North Carolina, to Fairfield, Connecticut, and from Budapest to Bangalore and beyond. Many of GE’s new buildings and retrofitted operations adopt LEED standards to optimize energy use through processes built into our global properties organization.

In keeping with our culture, GE continues to recognize performance excellence for those operations that contribute most dramatically to reductions in energy use and GHG emissions. In 2012, GE recognized 40 sites globally that had each reduced the energy intensity of their operations by 50% or more (in addition to changes in production) since 2004. GE also recognized three locations that had achieved unique reductions in energy use and GHG emissions through materials, process and equipment improvements with a monetary grant for use in the spirit of ecomagination. These facilities utilized process, equipment and material changes, rigorous start-up and shut-down procedures, and upgrades of various equipment to drive reductions in GHG emissions and energy use. 

Finally, for the first time, in 2012, GE also recognized several Sourcing Quality teams for their work in supporting reductions driven in GE’s supply chains. 

GHG and Energy Management in GE’s Supply Chain

Several GE businesses have leveraged our expertise in the Energy Treasure Hunt process, for GE’s suppliers in Mexico, Brazil and China. In fact, in 2007, GE launched a process with GE suppliers in Mexico to train over 50 suppliers in an Energy Treasure Hunt. Such events have also taken place in China. GE’s Capital business also incorporates techniques used in Energy Treasure Hunt in its Access GE program, designed to bring the full breadth of GE process expertise to its financial services customers. A discussion of how GE is working with its suppliers on GHG and energy issues is outlined in our Progress Against Commitments

Employee Engagement

GE’s Power & Water business, one of its largest, continues to drive its “Ecomagination Nation” employee engagement strategy.  During last year, the 18 sites that have achieved certification status under this program reported participation in environmental activities by more than 4,400 employees, and related volunteer community service totaling 4,000 hours. The sites have achieved over US$2 million in savings from the first year of certification. Additional sites will go through the process this year, and other GE businesses are considering implementing a similar approach to employee engagement.

GE also conducted its second year of a  project for up-and-coming operational leaders, focused on driving energy efficiency into GE’s global operations. This program engaged 208 future GE leaders in the U.S. and Europe (which account for approximately 80% of GE’s energy use and GHG emissions). Teams identified 307 projects that, when implemented, will save over US$3 million within an average simple payback period of less than one year. The projects reduce GHG at levels that are roughly equivalent to removing over 5,000 cars from the road or planting more than 8,000 acres of trees. However, the biggest long-term benefit GE will get from this project is a core group of future operational leaders who see the strong link between energy conservation, GHG reduction, business cost savings, and operational efficiencies. 

In 2012, GE lowered its energy use to 48.03MMBtu, a reduction of 19% from our adjusted 2004 baseline, and a slight reduction from 2011 levels. In addition, GE lowered its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to  4.88millionMT of CO2e, a reduction of 32% from our adjusted 2004 baseline and a 4% reduction from 2011 levels.

In 2012, GE’s energy intensity improved by 32% from the 2004 baseline year (measured as energy/$ revenue). GE adjusts its energy use baseline in the same way we adjust our GHG baseline for purposes of comparison.  This performance is relatively flat with last year. We are continuing to see erosion in energy-intensity progress from the 37% improvement we reported in 2008. We believe this to be attributed to changes in GE’s portfolio and a slower economic recovery than anticipated. GE’s total operational energy use is depicted in the below graph. GE’s energy use is dominated by natural gas (primarily for steam and heat) and electricity use. GE’s GHG intensity has improved by 43% since 2004. We attribute this to improvements in areas where non-CO2 GHG materials are used in operations, particularly the foam insulation process used in GE’s Appliances business.

Non-Fossil Fuel GHG Emissions

GE has focused technology and expert resources on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from non-energy related sources. These are the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from GE’s use of special chemicals such as HFCs and SF6 that are powerful greenhouse gases, but are gases that have unique properties that are useful for improving the performance or production of GE products. In 2004, the baseline year for GE’s ecomagination program, GE’s release of these gases was the equivalent to the emissions of 1.72 million tons of CO2 emissions and accounted for 24% of GE’s total greenhouse emissions. To date, through steady progress across the company, these emissions have now been reduced by over 85% and only account for 5% of GE’s overall emissions (based on GE’s 2012 eco-inventory data). This huge reduction is the equivalent of eliminating 1.46 million tons of CO2 emissions per year—the equivalent of taking  300,000 cars off the road.

GE achieved these reductions through sound solutions that also resulted in cost savings that help our businesses to be more competitive. For example, a large part of these reductions resulted from the changes GE made to our process for making refrigerators. Traditionally, a chemical called HFC-134a was used to make the foam in household refrigerators. (HFC-134a improves the insulating properties of foam, and has a global warming potential 1,300 times that of CO2). The introduction of alternative gases to replace HFC-134a not only significantly reduced our greenhouse gas emissions, but also allowed us to make a better insulating foam at lower cost. GE also introduced a new gas recovery system so that the SF6 gases released from one of our manufacturing processes could be recycled and reused, thus reducing operating costs. GE accomplished these “win-wins” outside of regulatory requirements, because they are good for business and the environment.

While GE has made great progress, we know that our work is not done. We continue to develop, implement and spread technologies to further improve GE’s non–energy-related CO2 emissions. 

For metrics regarding energy usage, view our GHG Inventory.

 

GE completed its eleventh annual global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory covering emissions during 2012. GE also separately reports GHG emissions from its equity investments in energy projects.

PROTOCOL

The GE GHG Inventory is modeled after the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD) “Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Revised Edition” (2004) (the “Protocol”). For its operational inventory, GE follows the “control” approach and includes GHG emissions from sources over which it has operational control. The Protocol also identifies three scope categories: Scope 1 includes direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting company; Scope 2 includes indirect emissions associated with the generation of imported/purchased electricity, steam, hot water or chilled water; and Scope 3 allows for other indirect emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the reporting company but occur from sources owned or controlled by another entity. According to the Protocol, Scopes 1 and 2 must be accounted for; accounting for Scope 3, however, is optional. GE collects data sufficient to determine most Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

INVENTORY SCOPE

The 2012 GHG inventory data include 539 individual GE Large Sites, 3,658 Small and Medium Sites, the vehicle and air fleets that GE operates for its own use and numerous desalination plants that GE owns and operates for its customers. The total number of large sites has decreased from 545 in 2011 to 539 in 2012. GE added 16 facilities that were acquired, newly established or newly determined to be within the boundaries of GE’s 539-site Large Site inventory and removed 22 facilities that were divested, closed or newly determined to be outside the boundaries of GE’s Inventory during the course of 2012. We anticipate further changes in our emissions profile in 2013 due to acquisitions and divestitures that will be made during the course of the year.

As Figure 1 shows, Most of GE’s operational GHG emissions are from large sites (80%). Emissions from small sites and vehicles represent another 18%. The three components together are responsible for 98% of GE’s operational GHG emissions in 2012.

Figure 1: GE’s operational GHG emissions from different components in 2012.

GHG EMISSION TOTALS

GE has established 2004 as its baseline year for measuring progress towards achieving its GHG emissions–reduction commitments. GHG emissions data for 2004 are adjusted to reflect the changes in GE structure and determine the real change in emissions and energy use from 2004 to 2012. Our adjusted baseline is now approximately 0.36% lower than the adjusted 2004 baseline reported last year, and 40% lower than the original baseline reported in 2004. More than 50% of the sites in GE’s original baseline inventory have been replaced with new sites.

In comparison to the 2004 baseline, the total GHG emissions of GE decreased by 32% (Fig 2). Most of the emissions reduction came from direct GHG emission, which dropped from 4.11 million metric tons of CO2e in 2004 to 1.97 million metric tons of CO2e in 2012. The indirect GHG emissions also dropped from 3.05 million metric tons of CO2e to 2.91 million metric tons of CO2e.

Figure 2: Total operational GHG emissions of GE in 2004 and 2012 with baseline adjustment.

GE operations in the U.S. and EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa) account for approximately 89% of GE’s worldwide operational emissions, with 67% of the emissions from the U.S. (Figure 3).

Figure 3: GE’s operational emissions by regions in 2012.

ENERGY INTENSITY

GE measures its energy intensity as an indicator of how efficient the company generates revenue using the energy resources. As Figure 4 shows, the energy intensity of GE in 2012 dropped by about 32% compared to the adjusted 2004 baseline.

Figure 4: GE’s operational energy-intensity improvement and target.

GHG EMISSION TYPES

Approximately 95.5% of GE’s operational GHG emissions are CO2 as shown in Figure 5. These emissions result from combustion of fuels and process or fugitive emissions of CO2 from our facilities (direct emissions) and from the generation of purchased electricity, steam and hot water at third-party facilities (indirect emissions). Natural gas accounts for almost 79% of the fuels directly combusted at our operational facilities on an energy-input basis. GE did not combust any coal at operational facilities in 2012.

HFC-134a and HFC-245fa emissions have dropped from 6% in 2011 to approximately 3% of the total GHG emissions in 2012. HFC-134a and HFC-245fa emissions occur during insulation foam-blowing operations at our refrigerator-manufacturing plants. Foam is used to improve the energy efficiency of our refrigerators, and HFCs are substitute foam-blowing agents that GE is using to replace an ozone-depleting substance that is being phased out under the U.S. Clean Air Act. GE has substituted HFC-245fa for HFC-134a in some of these operations to reduce GHG emissions.

Figure 5: Breakdown of GE’s CO2 equivalent emissions by greenhouse gas types.

INVENTORY DATA

The four categories of data for GE’s operational GHG Inventory are:

  • Energy use and emissions data from the largest facilities in the Company (approximately 80% of total GE GHG emissions)
  • Desalination plant emissions
  • Emissions estimates for small facilities
  • Mobile source emissions from centrally managed vehicle fleets and aircraft

Large sites

GE created a GHG Inventory database in Gensuite® (Gensuite), GE’s proprietary Web-based EHS management system, to collect the necessary detailed inventory data from the following types of facilities:

  • All manufacturing, power generation and engine/turbine test facilities
  • All service and distribution facilities with greater than 50 employees
  • All major business headquarters
  • All major stand-alone data centers

GE included 558 worldwide facilities meeting the above criteria in its original 2004 baseline GHG Inventory database and 539 worldwide facilities meeting the above criteria in its 2012 GHG Inventory database. The change in the number of facilities from 2004 to 2012 is the net of those facilities removed from the Inventory because of divestment, closure or consolidation with other facilities; those facilities added to the Inventory because of acquisitions; newly established facilities or separation from facilities included previously; or facilities removed or added to the Inventory because of changes in GHG Inventory boundary determinations.

The GHG Inventory database allows each site to enter the quantity of electricity and fuel used by fuel type and the unit of measure based on its own electricity and fuel purchase and/or combustion records as well as data on emissions of other GHGs. Gensuite calculates the emissions, in metric tons of CO2 equivalents, for each emission category as well as a total for all emission categories. Gensuite allows entry of data for use of coal, liquid fuel, alternative fuels, natural gas and electricity as well as data for other GHG uses in process operations. For some of these categories, a specific subcategory can be chosen (e.g., residual vs. distillate oil).

GE uses emission factors primarily from the U.S. EPA Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule (40 CFR part 98) to calculate CO2 emissions for the fuel types evaluated in the GE GHG Inventory. Other emission factors are obtained from WRI and IPCC documents when U.S. EPA factors are not available. GE uses U.S. EPA eGRID subregional average emission factors to calculate indirect emissions resulting from the purchase of electricity in the U.S. Indirect emissions resulting from the purchase of electricity outside of the U.S. are calculated using countrywide average factors obtained from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Emissions for other GHGs were calculated based on process data. The 100-year global warming potential (“GWP”) for CH4, N2O, HFCs, SF6, and PFCs are taken from the U.S. EPA Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule (40 CFR part 98). Emissions of CH4 and N2O from the combustion of fuels are calculated using emissions factors obtained from EPA Climate Leaders program documents.

Gensuite calculates direct-combustion emissions by multiplying a given quantity of fuel by an emission factor. As with direct fuel-combustion emissions, Gensuite also calculates indirect emissions for electricity that was purchased by multiplying a given quantity of electricity by an emission factor. Direct emissions resulting from the generation of electricity for export offsite are included within direct emissions. The Protocol recommends this approach and instructs companies to report emissions from exported electricity, heat or steam under supporting information and not to deduct those emissions from company emissions.

The Inventory includes 23 sites in Europe and Asia that import steam or hot water from third-party cogeneration plants or district heating plants. Each of these sites determined the quantity and type of fuel needed by the third-party plant to generate the steam or hot water purchased by the site. This quantity of fuel is then multiplied by the appropriate emission factor to determine the indirect emissions from steam or hot water purchases. A default thermal efficiency of 80% is used to calculate the quantity of fuel needed to generate the steam or hot water that was purchased based on guidance provided in the WRI/WBCSD Emission Calculation Tool. Most of the plants use the default thermal efficiency.

Emissions of other GHGs (direct-process emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, SF6, and PFCs) are entered directly into Gensuite as kilograms or metric tons and converted to metric tons of CO2 equivalents using the EPA’s published 100-year GWP coefficients. Generally, emissions are based on purchase records and the assumption that all used material was emitted. For certain processes, however, site-specific knowledge of the process and/or emissions factors are used to determine actual emissions. GE emits only minimal quantities of PFCs.

GE quantified biomass-related emissions as allowed by the WRI Protocol. GE subtracted 20,000 metric tons of CO2 from its GHG inventory as those emissions were attributed to the use of biomass as allowed by the Protocol.

Desalination Plants

GE owns and operates numerous seawater-desalination plants, located primarily in Spain and on islands in the Caribbean. These plants provide potable water to various municipalities for distribution to their countries’ citizens. Purchased electric power is by far the primary GHG emissions issue for these plants. The quantity of purchased electric power is estimated based on the quantity of potable water produced and on an energy-use factor provided by the GE Water & Process Technologies business that owns and operates the plants. The IEA electric emission factor is used to calculate GHG emissions for facilities located in Spain. The Annex II North American average factor obtained from the IEA is assumed for calculating the GHG emissions for the facilities located in the Caribbean. The appropriate eGRID subregional average factor is used for one facility located in California.

Small Sites

GE has almost 3,100 small locations worldwide for which detailed site-specific data is not collected individually because of the difficulty and expense that would be associated with such an effort in comparison with the relative significance of the emissions in GE’s overall inventory. Emissions for these small facilities in the U.S. are calculated based on the “Energy Usage Determination Based on Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption 2003 Survey Data Calculation Worksheets, November 2004, version 1.0” obtained from CH2M Hill in its role as support contractor for the EPA Climate Leaders program. Using this tool, one can determine the expected electricity and natural gas usage for a facility based on the type, location and square footage of the facility. GHG emissions are calculated by multiplying standard emission factors (eGRID subregional average electric emission factors in the U.S. and the same natural-gas factors used for large facilities) times the calculated energy usage per facility obtained from the tool. Emissions for small facilities outside of the U.S. are calculated using average electricity and natural gas usage values by facility type derived from the tool. These average usage values are then multiplied times the facility square footage data and appropriate country–average emission factors to calculate emissions. Emissions calculated from natural gas usage are considered direct emissions and emissions calculated from electricity usage are considered indirect emissions.

Mobile Sources

GE calculates emissions from motor vehicles centrally managed by GE Fleet Services in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico; motor vehicles leased or rented from Penske Truck Leasing and Ryder Logistics in the U.S.; and motor vehicles owned by GE businesses in the U.S. In addition, GE calculates emissions from GE-owned corporate aircraft, including the flying test bed (a large airliner used for flight-testing jet engines). Mobile source emissions are calculated by obtaining fuel use and/or vehicle-miles-traveled records and applying appropriate emission factors obtained from the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders guidance documents. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions for mobile sources are also calculated using emission factors obtained from U.S. EPA Climate Leaders program guidance documents. In addition, GE includes emissions from GE-controlled motor vehicles that are refueled onsite at GE Large Sites. The emissions from these vehicles are included in the combustion-of-fuels calculations for Large Sites discussed above.

GE’s worldwide GHG emissions are calculated by summing the Large Site, desalination plant, mobile source and Small Site emissions for each year.

Sources Not Included

GHG emission sources not included in the Inventory because GE did not have operational control over them include the following:

  • Minority-owned joint ventures
  • Energy-generation facilities where GE has a service relationship, but where GE does not have operational control
  • Aircraft, motor vehicles, railroad locomotives, etc., owned by GE, but leased to and controlled by others
  • WRI/WBCSD Scope 3 sources

GHG operational emission sources not included in the Inventory because the emissions from the sources were expected to be insignificant include the following:

  • Motor vehicles controlled by GE but not centrally managed through GE Fleet Services, Penske Truck Leasing or Ryder Logistics, not owned by GE businesses in the U.S. and not refueled onsite at GE Large Sites
  • Leakage of HFCs from GE-owned and -operated air conditioning, refrigeration and chilling systems
  • Remedial operations operationally controlled by GE, other than the Hudson River operation, which was included in the Large Sites inventory for the first time in 2009

Quality Assurance

GE is continuing to work toward increasing the accuracy of its GHG Inventory. It has modified its GHG Inventory collection database to simplify it and to eliminate issues that have tended to introduce errors in the past. In addition, GE has developed numerous guidance documents and an internal guidance website, and has provided extensive training on the inventory and on the use of Gensuite. Finally, GE has performed extensive data-quality reviews on the GHG Inventories, including side-by-side comparisons of GHG emissions for 2011 and 2012, to identify and understand the reasons for significant differences (changes in production, fuel, manufacturing processes, etc.). In addition, detailed data reviews were conducted for the 200 highest GHG-emitting sites. A number of data-quality issues were identified, analyzed and corrected, where necessary, through this process.

Independent Verification of the 2004 and 2008 GE GHG Inventories

Because 2004 serves as GE’s baseline year, the Company retained an independent consultant, Cameron-Cole, LLC, in late 2005 to review its Inventory and provide verification. Cameron-Cole issued a verification statement in March 2006, stating that it found nothing to indicate any material errors or omissions or anything that would indicate that GE’s Inventory was not complete. Cameron-Cole also found that GE’s Inventory generally conformed to the accounting principles in the Protocol.

GE also retained Cameron-Cole during 2009 to perform an independent verification of its adjustments to the 2004 Inventory baseline and the 2008 GHG Inventory, since 2008 was the goal year for GE’s original GHG-intensity-reduction goal. Cameron-Cole issued a verification statement in December 2009 that again stated that it found nothing to indicate any material errors or omissions in the 2004 baseline adjustments and the 2008 GHG Inventory, or anything that would indicate that GE’s Inventory was not complete. In addition, Cameron-Cole stated that it believed that GE had met its 2008 GHG-intensity-reduction commitment. Finally, Cameron-Cole found that GE’s Inventory generally conformed to the accounting principles in the Protocol.

 

GE reports Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions using the “operational control” definitions provided in the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD) GHG Accounting Protocol. GE also quantifies Scope 3 and other emissions associated with the most material of its financial transactions.  In fact, GE has been quantifying and externally reporting these emissions since 2006, when GE’s Energy Financial Services (EFS) business demonstrated leadership by becoming one of the first financial services companies to report GHG emissions associated with power-project equity investments. GE EFS is continuing this leadership through evaluating investments in energy conservation; considering efficiency; factoring CO2 from coal and other fossil fuel plants into deal-approval processes; and continuing to voluntarily report emissions. (Information will be available in April 2013 on GE’s 2012 EFS power project emissions.) 

GE Energy Financial Services invests in power projects in a number of ways: equity, lease and debt. We are reporting emissions from investments in which GE Energy Financial Services holds a common equity interest based upon the business unit’s percentage of equity ownership.

In 2012, GE Energy Financial Services’s GHG emissions totaled approximately 7.89 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent from  21 investments. In 2011, by comparison, GE Energy Financial Services held a common equity interest in 22 power projects which emitted approximately 7.96 million metric tons of CO2e. While total emissions between 2011 and 2012 stayed nearly constant, there are noticeable changes in emission levels at individual investments. Increases in emissions at the individual investments are largely due to increased generation, while decreases are due to the sale of investments during 2012 and to decreased generation. The net effect on total emissions is minimal.

Notable increases in emissions include Fox Energy, a 600 MW gas-fired combined cycle plant in Wisconsin. Significantly higher dispatch in 2012 led to a 69% increase in emissions. A significant addition to the portfolio of reportable investments is Homer City, a 1,884 MW coal-fired plant in Pennsylvania that was acquired by an EFS subsidiary on December 14, 2012; emissions for the remaining 17 days of 2012 are reported. Homer City emissions levels are expected to be a substantial portion of the total CO2 equivalent emissions from GE EFS equity portfolio in the future.

In general, CO2 equivalent emissions from GE Energy Financial Services’ investments will rise or fall based on various factors, and the business unit’s strategy continues to focus on identifying attractive energy-sector investment opportunities.

The renewable energy projects in which GE Energy Financial Services holds equity interests avoided approximately 6.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2012, compared to approximately 5.8 million metric tons of avoided CO2 equivalent emissions reported in 2011.

Portfolio additions of renewable investments along with projects reaching commercial operation drove the increase of avoided CO2 equivalent emissions. In 2012, EFS held 52 renewable projects up from 45 in 2011. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s CO2 emissions rate used in the calculation of avoided emissions did not change in 2012.

With investment commitments totaling more than $9 billion, EFS now has equity and debt financings for renewable-energy projects totaling more than 10 gigawatts in operation or under construction.

GE also reports Scope 3 avoided emissions associated with its installed base of wind turbines. The installed base of all GE wind turbines delivered to all customers through 2012 increased from 27,200 mW in 2011 to 33,550 mW in 2012. These wind turbines avoided around 62 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 equivalent emissions in 2012, a value that is much larger than the 50 MMT of CO2 equivalent emissions from GE Operations in 2011 and more than 10 times larger than GE’s operational footprint of 4.88 MMT.

For metrics regarding energy usage, view our Planet metrics.

Through GE’s ecomagination effort, it has become clear that our product portfolio is perhaps the company’s most important lever for accelerating low-carbon development. We have the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of our products while also offering products and services that help customers use energy more efficiently.

GE offers a range of energy-efficient products, from consumer-facing products such as our high-efficiency lighting systems and the nearly 400 GE appliances that meet ENERGY STAR standards to industrial-scale energy systems and mobility solutions in aviation, railways and electric vehicles. Similarly, GE develops infrastructure such as smart-grid solutions that help customers use energy more efficiently. Indeed, our product portfolios are broad enough that we can develop and integrate solutions on several levels simultaneously, by improving the efficiency of individual products while also enhancing the efficiency of the infrastructures they use.

Rail Transport

GE’s rail transport products and services offer examples of how we can play a role in improving energy efficiency in a range of ways. The newest GE Evolution® Series locomotive, introduced at the start of 2012, meets U.S. EPA Tier 3 emissions regulations, which require a 50% reduction in particulate emissions that can contribute to human health problems, while it also significantly improves fuel efficiency. GE continues to work toward the even more stringent EPA Tier 4 (2015) emissions standards for both particulates and smog-causing oxides of nitrogen.

To help customers improve their operation of trains, GE’s Trip Optimizer™ software serves as an intelligent “cruise control” that monitors and manages the route between a train’s origin and destination to eliminate unnecessary braking and throttling. Installed on an Evolution Series locomotive, this software can reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions by between 3% and 17%, or 66–380 metric tons of CO2 per year.

In addition to producing efficient locomotives and offering tools to optimize their operation, GE supports the efficiency of the overall rail network through such tools as the RailEdge® Movement Planner. RailEdge is like an air traffic control system for trains, integrating real-time and historical data from a variety of sources and offering analytical tools to help manage rail traffic and improve both speed and efficiency.

Infrastructure: Building Automation

In the European Union, buildings are responsible for 40% of all energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions, and the energy efficiency of buildings is subject to increasing scrutiny by occupants, building managers and policy makers. Integrating and automating the management of building appliances, lighting, heating, ventilation and other systems significantly improves energy efficiency, but can be challenging to achieve when these systems were developed by various manufacturers at various times and were not designed to work together. To help address this problem, GE works with a range of other companies to develop and deploy building-automation systems. For example, GE has partnered with Skanska, a leading international project development and construction company, to develop HabiTEQ™, an intelligent automation system for office buildings. HabiTEQ integrates a building’s functional subsystems, including lighting, heating, ventilation and security, into a single communicating system linked to a powerful central controller. This enables optimal, energy-efficient interaction among the subsystems that is almost impossible to achieve with conventional technology. HabiTEQ can also be configured to work in conjunction with domestic renewable-energy systems, such as solar panels, smart electric vehicle chargers and citywide smart-grid systems, to deliver large-scale energy-efficiency benefits. A pilot project installed in Skanska’s offices in Malmö, Sweden, has reduced energy consumption by more than 20%, and the system is now being deployed in other buildings around Europe.

Learn more about ecomagination products. A detailed description will be available in June 2013.

Sustainable Growth 2012

GE’s 2012 Sustainable Growth Summary highlights progress against commitments on our social, environmental and economic impacts—or, what we call People, Planet and Economy.

Read More...

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