GE launches Distributed Power business

By Erin Voegele | February 26, 2014

On Feb. 25, GE announced the launch of a new Distributed Power business that combines the Aeroderivative Gas Turbine, Jenbacher Gas Engine and Waukesha Gas Engine product lines. The company said it would invest $1.4 billion over four years in the newly created business. The investment will help meet the world’s growing demand for onsite-power systems.

GE also announced it has signed a contract for Indonesia’s first integrated biomass-to-power plants for on-grid applications using bamboo and woody biomass feedstocks.

“With our Distributed Power business, GE has numerous technologies that can hasten the substitution of natural gas for diesel throughout the more than 17,000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Making the move to natural gas and biogas will go beyond helping Indonesia improve its fiscal sustainability and energy security to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Handry Satriago, CEO Indonesia, GE.

According to GE, its integrated biomass gasification solution featuring GE’s syngas engine technology will power biomass-to-power demonstration plants in Indonesia. The plans are part of a broader cooperation between GE, PLN and developer PT Clean Power Indonesia (CPI) and call for the development of demonstration and full-scale power facilities using GE’s integrated biomass-to-power solution as well as supporting industries critical to the development of sustainable, local fuel sources. A 1-MW facility on Sumba island and a 150-kW demonstration plant in Bangli, Bali, are part of the cooperation agreement.

GE has also released a white paper, titled “The Rise of Distributed Power.” Within the report, GE highlights the fact that distributed power is becoming increasingly popular in countries that are seeing more reliable, efficient options near the point of use. The report predict that distributed power will grow 40 percent faster than global electricity demand through 2020.

The paper provides an overview of what distributed power is, noting that distributed power technologies are generally less than 100 MW in size, and typically are 50MW or smaller, which GE notes is the limit that distribution systems can accommodate at distribution voltages.

According to GE, the rise of distributed power is being driven by several factors, including the fact that these relatively small projects have lower capital requirements and can be built and become operational feaster and with less risk than large power plants. GE estimates that in 2012, 39 percent of total global capacity additions came from distributed power sources.

A copy of the white paper can be downloaded from GE’s Distributed Power website