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GE and venture capital partners invest USD55m in new technology

General Electric and its venture capital partners have made a collective investment of USD55m in power grid technology companies.

The investment is a part of the USD200m GE Ecomagination Challenge.

It is the first of several rounds of innovation funding planned by GE and its venture capital partners as part of the Challenge, a global commitment to accelerate the development and deployment of power grid technology through open collaboration.

GE says that to date it has formed and accelerated a dozen new partnerships with entrants to develop and commercialise technologies including energy storage, utility security, energy management software and electric vehicle charging services.

GE expects these markets to grow into a USD20bn opportunity by 2015.

Twelve concepts have been selected for partnerships and GE is actively negotiating investments and other commercial agreements with the companies and academic partners, including two co-investments with venture capital partners.

The ten-week open innovation Challenge attracted 70,000 technologists, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups submitting their best ideas to build the next-generation power grid.

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