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GE hits $6 billion target for renewable energy investments

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GE has reached its target to build a $6 billion portfolio of renewable energy investments. Green companies now comprise almost 30 percent of the overall portfolio.

GE Energy's Financial Services unit announced on Thursday that it reached its multi-year target to build a $6 billion portfolio of renewable energy investments.

The goal goes hand-in-hand with GE's Ecomagination initiative, as well as complements CEO Jeff Immelt's attempt to right the GE ship toward things it's good at. Renewable energy now makes up almost 30 percent of the unit's overall portfolio, a major boost from just 6 percent in 2006.

(GE began investing in renewable energy in 1987.)

The news was announced at the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) Phase II conference in Washington, D.C.

In 2009 and 2010 so far, the unit invested or promised more than $1.5 billion for wind farms, closed deals for geothermal and hydroelectric power generation and made investments in smart grid and renewable energy companies.

The investments span 14 countries, 95 wind farms, 40 solar installations, six hydroelectric projects, 12 landfill gas facilities and 15 other projects.

The business unit made sure to note that in the U.S., about 75 percent of its renewable energy investments have been made in states with renewable portfolio standards or regulations requiring increased electricity generation from renewable sources.

Its point: that policy must be consistent and conditions predictable if states want investment in green business.

For that reason, GE is calling on the federal government to extend the U.S. Treasury grant renewable energy program, which was created alongside the stimulus. It's set to expire at the end of this year.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure