GE unveils plans for its new energy business ‘Current’

GE estimates that Current’s solutions could save customers 10-20% on their energy bills and aid utility companies in distributed load management

US multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) has unveiled plans to build a new energy business ‘Current’, using IoT to bring together its LED, solar, energy storage and electric vehicle businesses onto its cloud-based Predix platform.

The US$1 billion Current energy business, headed up by Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO of GE’s LED lighting business, is geared towards providing products and services covering energy efficiency, renewable generation and storage aimed at hospitals, universities, retail stores and cities, said GE CEO Jeff Immelt.

GE will use its cloud-based Predix platform to “analyse energy consumption and provide customers with data around patterns and needs along with recommendations to increase efficiency,” according to Forbes and financial website StreetInsider.

Using aggregated data and analysis, GE will provide customers with recommendations on how to reduce power levels, generate power onsite and create new revenue streams for customers through various technologies, such as sensors and networked systems in buildings.

It is reported that Current’s solution will be able to help customers save 10-20% on their energy bills and aid utility companies in distributed load management.

Beth Comstock, head of GE’s Innovation business, said: “The move is part of the company’s bid to take advantage of seismic shifts in the energy business as customers seek to save money by better controlling energy use and even by making their own power.

“As technologies rapidly change, businesses want to be able to manage more of their operating expenses and invest less capital upfront.”

Current services – pilots

News reports suggest that several existing GE clients including Walgreens, Simon Property Group, Hilton Worldwide, JPMorgan Chase, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and Intel, are currently piloting Current’s products and services, in a bid to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs in their business operations.

Tim Earnest, executive vice president for Simon Management Group, commented: “As part of Simon’s continued effort to improve energy efficiency at its properties, the company is exploring several new energy saving opportunities, in addition to our use of LEDs, including innovative new battery storage concepts.

Earnest added: “Pairing these technologies with GE’s Predix data systems and software could lead to powerful, cost effective, efficient energy solutions. With more than 200 malls, The Mills and Premium Outlets in North America, Simon’s scale lends itself well to testing energy efficiency programs for potential use across its portfolio.”