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Renewables a big boost for GE's profits
by Daniel J. Graeber
Fairfield, Conn. (UPI) Jan 20, 2017

Essen, Germany wins greenest city honors
Washington DC (UPI) Jan 20, 2017 - The city of Essen in German was honored with a green-city award by a European body for transforming itself from a steel to an environmental leader.

"This award is recognition of Essen's great efforts to establish itself as a city in transformation; overcoming a challenging industrial history to reinvent itself as a green city," Essen Mayor Thomas Kufen said in a statement. "We strive to be a leading example for other European cities in finding sustainable solutions to urban challenges."

Essen received the 2017 Green Capital Award from European government bodies for transforming itself from a coal and steel industrial leader to one of the greenest cities in the region.

According to European data, Essen has not had any landfill or domestic waste in decades and nearly all of the city's population lives at most three city blocks away from a green urban space. For future goals, the city aims to reduce car travel, a main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, by 29 percent by 2035 and create 20,000 jobs in the environmental sector by 2025.

The European government said Essen is a model for sustainable urban development for the rest of the region.

"I congratulate Essen on becoming European Green Capital 2017 and making the city a healthier place to live in," European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella said. "The impressive transformation from coal and steel industry to the greenest city in North Rhine-Westphalia is proof of Essen's successful structural change."

Germany as a whole has one of the greener economies in Europe. Last year, Austrian energy company OMV announced an initiative in Germany, which envisions 400 hydrogen filling stations for alternative vehicles by 2023. The country is already one of the European leaders in wind energy development. German utility group RWE, meanwhile, said it would work with port officials to create infrastructure to fuel vessels with cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas.

In the wake of Japan's nuclear disaster in 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors closed by the end of that year and a total shutdown by 2022.

Gains in the renewable energy sector and deals in exploration and production helped boost fourth quarter profits substantially, General Electric said Friday.

GE said its earnings during the fourth quarter increased to about $3.5 billion, against the $2.6 billion reported during the same period last year. By sector, the company's renewable energy sector saw total revenues increase 29 percent to $2.5 billion.

"We executed on our 2016 goals and continued to drive growth across our businesses," Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement.

On the renewable energy front, the company announced at least $1.6 billion in acquisitions of wind power rivals and realized billions of dollars more in onshore wind orders in the United States alone. Last year, the company put its wind energy sector footprint on display at the Block Island wind farm, which became the first offshore wind farm in commercial service in the United States.

Outside of North America, the company committed to collaborating with Italian energy company Eni on a wide range of projects tied to low-carbon power options like solar power and wind. In British waters, GE said there's already $25 million committed to tidal power.

GE's oil and gas business has built up its position through acquisitions so that it's now one of the stronger divisions within the parent company. A marine division of GE last year said it would work with Danish energy company Maersk Drilling on a pilot program to use advanced digital technology for drilling operations. The collaboration with Maersk came less than a month after the oil and gas division of GE acquired a 62.5 percent stake in oilfield services company Baker Hughes.

The exploration and production side of the global energy turned south last year on the back of lower crude oil prices, though the market has recovered since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries coordinated a deal to offset market strains.

On oil and gas, however, GE reported total revenues for the fourth quarter were 22 percent lower year-on-year.

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Essen, Germany wins greenest city honors
Washington DC (UPI) Jan 20, 2017
The city of Essen in German was honored with a green-city award by a European body for transforming itself from a steel to an environmental leader. "This award is recognition of Essen's great efforts to establish itself as a city in transformation; overcoming a challenging industrial history to reinvent itself as a green city," Essen Mayor Thomas Kufen said in a statement. "We strive to ... read more

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