GE Launches $1B Energy Services Company, Current


General Electric has joined its energy-efficiency and distributed-power technologies with its industrial internet platform to create a new grid edge company, Current.

Current combines GE’s commercial and industrial LED lighting, solar, energy storage and electric-vehicle businesses with the predictive analytics of its industrial internet platform, Predix, to provide one-stop shopping for customers looking to solve increasingly complex energy problems.

“Customers are asking for more help,” said Maryrose Sylvester, CEO of Current and former president and CEO of GE Lighting. “They’re looking for someone who can look horizontally across their business and can do the hard work for them.”

GE is pitching Current as a startup, but it brings together existing businesses that have more than $1 billion in revenue and is supported by one of the largest corporations in the world.

Yet Current is meant to have a startup mentality, and be more flexible and nimble than its parent company. At the same time, it is backed by deep pockets that can offer customers various financing options.

“It’s a sign of the times that GE has created a specific focus on an integrated offering, one that has the ability to marry technology with digital analytics to engage end-use customers in actually becoming active grid participants at the grid edge,” said Steve Propper, director of grid edge at GTM Research.

A large piece of the $90 billion left in GE Capital after it was dismantled earlier this year has migrated to Current. GE had been separately tweaking and incubating various technologies, such as its LED business, which was run separately within GE Lighting, and Predix, which was officially launched earlier this year. Now, these pieces will be merged to support customers looking to innovate at the grid edge, whether C&I customers, municipalities or utilities.

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