GE has a whole lot faith in its ecomagination initiative. So much faith, in fact, that the company is pumping $10 billion into the project's R&D over the next 5 years—effectively doubling its investment from the past 5 years. The reason is simple: ecomagination is a cash cow, generating $70 billion in revenue since its inception in 2005. With the world's attention turned toward clean technology, that number will almost certainly grow.
Ecomagination encompasses a broad set of projects. GE advisory board member Ernest J. Moniz describes the program in GE's 2009 ecomagination report:
The ecomagination technologies span multiple sectors—residential and commercial buildings, industry, transportation—and have a pervasive theme of increased efficiency, the surest way to find cost-effective sustainable energy solutions.
So far, ecomagination has spawned everything from low-energy digital mammography machines and aircraft engines to gas turbines and nuclear plants. There's plenty more on the way, including a massive battery plant in New York, a $2 billion wind project in Oregon, and a series of high-end energy-efficient front-load washers and dryers set to be manufactured in Kentucky. And we can't forget GE's ambitious plan into integrate appliances (i.e. hot water heaters, microwaves, and oven ranges) with smart grid technology.
Ecomagination is so big that it may soon top the federal government's investments in research and development, according to Earth2Tech. The government spends approximately $5 billion annually on energy innovation R&D.
But GE isn't on a mission to best the government for fun—the company believes it will generate $25 billion in 2010, up from $18 billion in 2009. Over the next 5 years, GE hopes that ecomagination revenue will grow at twice the rate of the company's total revenue. If this doesn't prove that green technology is both a financially and ethically responsible investment, we're not sure what does.