The General Electric Co. said Monday it planned to invest another $10 billion over the next seven years in clean-energy technology research and development, bringing its total investment in the sector to $25 billion.
The investment plan is part of the "Ecomagination" initiative launched in 2005 to develop innovative ways of dealing with the environmental challenges posed by global warming.
The Ecomagination initiative has resulted in a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2004 and a 47 percent reduction in the use of fresh water since 2006, GE said in a statement.
"Ecomagination is one of our most successful cross-company business initiatives. Bold investments in ecomagination research and development have resulted in strong returns for shareholders and improved cost and emissions savings for our customers," GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said.
GE's new investment plan is aimed at developing alternative technologies for replacing the water used in the controversial hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," technique used to produce natural gas and crude oil from shale.
Fracking involves pumping a pressurized fluid - usually composed of water, sand and chemicals - into a shale formation to create a fracture in the rock layer and release trapped petroleum or natural gas.
Environmentalists contend that fracking pollutes aquifers and causes earthquakes in the areas where drilling takes place.
GE said it also planned to increase the production of wind turbines to cut the cost of generating wind energy, as well as to develop ways of improving the efficiency of power plants.
General Electric shares were up $0.47, or 1.88 percent, to $25.41 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange. EFE