Renewable Energy Grows from Dream to Economic Giant

In a post earlier this week, I took a look at how renewable energy burst onto the scene in the early 2000s. The post was centered around information from GE’s annual reports, as presented in GE’s new data visualization. But a lot has happened since the early 2000s. In fact, when it comes to the energy market, more has happened in the past 5-7 years than in all the decades before that. So, coming back to the topic of renewable energy market growth, let’s take a look at how renewable energy has grown in leaps and bounds in the past several years, again using GE’s new data viz as a guiding tool in this retrospective.

From 2005 on, aside from boasting about its involvement in the fastest growing energy sector in the world, the wind energy sector, GE had some big revenue numbers and percentages to start dropping into its annual reports.

In every annual report since 2005, GE has noted that the “majority of the power utilized to manufacture” its annual reports comes from renewable energy — and, not only that, but the power is generated using GE’s own wind, hydro, and biogas technologies.

Here’s another prominent note from GE’s 2005 report: “Our renewable energy portfolio received more than $3 billion in orders in 2005.” No small sector, not even for one of the largest corporations on the planet.

In 2006, it had even more to be happy about — “Because of a focus on environmental solutions, our lineup of renewable energy technologies is the largest in the world with $5 billion revenues.” In other words, in a single year, GE’s renewable energy revenues increased $2 billion, nearly doubling!

In 2008, GE noted, “We have a $7 billion renewable energy business with solid positions in wind and solar energy.” It also mentioned world-leading Masdar City, “the world’s first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city powered by renewable energy, where GE’s first ecomagination center is to be built.” This, again, just showcases how far renewable energy has come so fast. From almost nothing in place a decade before to building a whole city powered with clean energy.

Wind, solar, and biogas have grown leaps and bounds year after year, and it’s projected they will continue  doing so in the years and even decades to come.

All in all, GE’s annual reports viz  show two things when it comes to renewable energy: renewable energy has grown from a dream to a huge player in the energy sector and the economy as a whole, and GE’s leadership in this arena has helped it tremendously in benefiting from that and also moving that growth forward.

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