G.E. to Spin Off New Energy Technologies in One Company

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General Electric, which has been moving to shed a number of divisions and return to its roots as an industrial behemoth, is creating a company to house developing energy businesses, executives said Wednesday.

The company, to be called Current, will focus on providing products and services in energy efficiency, renewable generation and storage to large customers like hospitals, universities, retail stores and cities, Jeffrey R. Immelt, the G.E. chief executive, said in a statement.

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

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, said Beth Comstock, who oversees business innovation at G.E.

In recent years, the company has been “quietly incubating” several components of the new business, she said, including solar power, energy storage systems, electric vehicle charging equipment, intelligent LED lighting and software to manage it all. It will spin it off to allow it to develop more quickly.

“We want to make sure that they can go fast, and that they can tap into the mother ship to get what they need to go fast and that it doesn’t slow them down,” she said. “Increasingly, these are the models we’re trying to test out: the more speed-to-market, the more entrepreneurial approach.”

Current will start with $1 billion in revenue and expects to become a $5 billion business by 2020, executives said. Early customers who have agreed to start using the G.E. systems include Walgreens, the Simon Property Group, Intel and JPMorgan Chase.

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