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GE in Climate Spectator Webinar


Ben Waters, Director of GE’s program to drive innovation in commercially deployable solutions to resource scarcity and climate change, ecomagination has spoken at a webinar run by prominent website Climate Spectator. Waters promoted GE’s current business trajectory, as well as the GE Australia & New Zealand Low Carbon ecomagination Challenge before fielding a number of questions from the virtual audience.

GE has become a leader in international investment in renewable energy and Waters used the event to advertise ecomagination’s push to move into Australia as well as encouraging entrants into the Ecomagination Challenge. The challenge fields entries from a diverse range of inventors, businesses, students and others who have a potential commercially deployable innovation into reducing carbon emission. Winning ideas are eligible for up to $500,000 with an additional investment capital of $10 million.

In a discussion that was free of the status-quo of negative rhetoric surrounding the carbon pricing mechanism and the Renewable Energy Target, Waters heralded the positive landscape in Australia that is emerged as a world leader within the carbon arena.

 The following are answers to questions fielded by Waters:

  • Geothermal generation does not pose a low cost option for renewable generation in the coming decade

  • International credits do not pose a danger to the effectiveness of the carbon pricing mechanism (CPM) to abate carbon emission for two reasons: climate change is a global problem and emissions abated in one part of the globe benefit others; the 50% maximum on international carbon credits would ensure a good proportion of local investment in abatement. He went on to state that the Renewable Energy Target was able to maintain a focus on renewable outside the CPM.

  • Electric Vehicles are of significant interest to GE. They pose large opportunities to capitalize on on-site generation as well as the potential to export power for domestic use.

  • GE is working closely with CSIRO to develop ideas to upgrade Australia’s electricity grid as part of the Australia’s Future Grid Forum.

  • Small-scale wind for domestic use does not present great generation potential because of low wind resources in domestic areas as well as wind shadow from other buildings.

  • 75% of businesses believe the CPM will remain for the foreseeable future.

  • Transition must be made away from fossil fuels, although investment will remain in the short term.

  • Commercialization of renewable energy is required to push innovation. Australia needs to attract investment in the field to see a larger roll out.

  • Divisive rhetoric around carbon needs to be left behind and adaption to a low carbon economy needs to begin.