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The new colour of money: Eco-magine all the people

While banks look to clean up in green finance, they face one competitor that could trump them all – General Electric.

The new colour of money
Environmentalists at the gates
Caring, not sharing

GE, through its GE Energy Financial Services (EFS) division, is in a unique position to benefit from the new climate in alternatives investment. Renewables is the fastest-growing segment of its energy investments. Of a total $14 billion invested in energy, to date $2 billion is in alternatives. Kevin Walsh, head of EFS’s renewable energy investing team, says that number will at least double by 2010.

In project finance, EFS has invested sizeable capital, typically over $100 million at a time in wind, hydro and geothermal projects. It also makes a number of smaller, venture capital-style investments in clean technology firms each year. And this year, it announced a joint venture with AES to develop and sell carbon credits in the US.

All this, as well as GE’s Earth Rewards credit card, falls under the company’s Ecomagination branding umbrella. Add in the fact that GE actually has the contracts to build many of the new power plants, and it is a compelling business proposition. It would appear the world’s largest banks could learn a thing or two from one of the world’s largest companies.

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