| GOLETA, California
GOLETA, California The United States is in
danger of falling behind other nations in reducing greenhouse
gas emissions if both the federal government and Corporate
America do not move quickly to support sources of clean energy,
General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said on
During an appearance at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics
conference in Goleta, California, Immelt said he doesn't
understand critics of government tax credits for renewable
energy sources such as solar panels and wind farms.
"For some reason we decide that energy is the one industry
in the world where the only policy should be the price of a
barrel of oil," Immelt said, adding that GE could always sell
its products overseas if they aren't purchased here.
"If the U.S. isn't buying my wind turbines, there is going
to be 8,000 megawatts (MW) installed in Turkey," he said. "I'll
GE's ecomagination business sells a range of "green"
products including solar-powered lighting, a hybrid locomotive,
wind turbines and water purification systems. Earlier on
Wednesday, Immelt said in a letter to shareholders that
ecomagination would top $20 billion in annual revenue by 2009,
a year earlier than its prior forecast.
Immelt has long argued that "green is green" -- meaning
that GE is in the environmental business because it can bring
in serious money.
Dressed in a light green blazer, Immelt echoed those
thoughts on Wednesday and defended GE's green strategy against
critics in the audience who suggested the market for cleaner,
more energy-efficient products, could be a fad.
"For some strange, odd, incredibly insane, terrible
horrible reason, I'm going to sell $10 bln of wind turbines in
2010," Immelt said, adding that he would sell them in China,
Mexico and Turkey if they weren't wanted by the United States.
"I don't know why an anti-technology,
stick-your-head-in-the-sand approach is applauded by anybody,"
Immelt also defended GE's membership in the U.S. Climate
Action Partnership (USCAP), saying he wanted to have a role in
determining environmental legislation rather than have it
"pushed down my throat" down the road.
USCAP, which includes environmental groups, utilities, and
manufacturers, has called for a market-based emissions trading
system and a nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that
would lead to reductions of 10 percent to 30 percent over the
next 15 years.
To achieve those goals, Immelt said the United States
needed to pursue the development of a range of energy sources,
including building new nuclear power plants and implementing
so-called "clean coal" technology.
"Coal gasificiation and nuclear are like going to the
Superbowl, with all these people watching, and the teams never
leave the locker room," he said. "We've got to be doing
nuclear, we've got to have cleaner gas, we've got to have
conservation. We've got to have all those things or you are not
going to have any progress."
(Reporting by Nichola Groom)