General Electric Co., the world’s biggest maker of power-generation equipment, said demand is growing most quickly in emerging markets and nations with a clear energy policy.
“We are in a multi-speed recovery,” Steve Bolze, head of the GE Power & Water unit, said in an interview at the World Energy Congress in Montreal. “Certain parts of the world, China, parts of Latin America, Brazil, are growing significantly. Some countries are in moderate recovery mode,” such as the U.S. and parts of Europe, and others are dealing with sovereign-debt issues, he said.
China is now the biggest market for wind, and GE is also selling more equipment there that turns coal into gas for cleaner-burning fuel, Bolze said. Demand is rising in the Middle East and India, while a lack of national energy policies is curbing growth in the U.S., especially for environmentally friendlier products, Bolze said.
“We are seeing our customers being very cautious on some investments until that’s clarified,” Bolze said. “We go to Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, where the opportunities are for us.”
Interest in so-called distributed generation, on-site or remote and emergency power, is increasing, particularly in developing countries such as Saudi Arabia and in Latin America, Bolze said.
GE, whose equipment produces one-third of the world’s electricity, is the world’s second-biggest maker of wind turbines behind Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S.
Other businesses include biogas, natural gas and steam turbines. GE boosted access to offshore wind-turbine technology last year with its purchase of the ScanWind unit of Morphic Technologies AB in Sweden.
As the parent company, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, raises spending on research and development, Bolze said his unit is also seeking acquisitions in technologically advanced areas including wind and distributed generation.