GE (NYSE: GE) has re-named its Converteam unit Power Conversion, as it attempts to grow its business in the rapidly expanding energy efficiency, electrification and automation sector, particularly focusing on the emerging BRIC nations.

Speaking to Power Engineering International this week, Global Services Leader of Power Conversion, Mike Archibald says the estimated worth of the sector is a conservative figure and the company has invested with a view to capitalising on a highly positive future outlook.

“When you look at the overall electrification megatrend, it’s just massive. Our current opportunity stands at $30bn but our estimates are that over the next 20 years this space will double. As we innovate new applications into new market segments it expands the footprint where we can participate.”

GE has made an $11bn investment in the energy sector, as the potential for electrification came to be realised, with $3.2bn alone spent on the strategic acquisition of Converteam.

“One of the keys to addressing this megatrend (of electrification) is the acquisition of Converteam. This, along with the recent restructuring of GE Energy with its Energy Management business unit pulling together several of the legacy GE electrical-based businesses and putting Converteam inside that family, really provides a focus on it,” says Archibald,

“We’re clearly in a position to take advantage of these trends by the addition of Converteam to the portfolio.”

Archibald believes the expertise within GE can enable clients to improve energy efficiency by up to 30 per cent, through replacing simple cycle and mechanical drive technology with the electrical variable speed drive systems and automation associated with the company’s combined cycle power equipment.

“From a motor standpoint these have very high proven reliabilities within the industry; easier to automate, easier to operate remotely and electrically, even sub-sea. It saves companies significant amounts of money both in downtime and when operating in harsh environments.

Those are the other benefits beyond just the efficiency calculation of electrification.”

With renewables as well as oil and gas providing the lion’s share of Power Conversion’s overall energy revenue streams at the moment, GE has positioned itself to capture business in what it perceives to be the main geographical areas of interest for the foreseeable future, namely the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations.

“That’s where the interest is and where a lot of the Greenfield projects are going to be. We will continue to have an interesting and exciting  time in Europe and North America because they are important geographies to us but looking forward we see the growth in the regions where we see energy and industry investment, currently the BRIC countries and we will continue to focus our investments and our growth aspirations in those regions.”

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