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GE’s Galileo energy investments program kicks off, with public funding

by Silvia Pieraccini

Public funds worth €38.4 million have been released to go towards the first tranche of investments – totaling €200 million – which General Electric Oil&Gas will use to develop a new innovative products center in Tuscany.

The center at GE’s Nuovo Pignone plant in Florence will have compressors and turbines for extracting gas and petroleum with a power ranging between 5 and 65 megawatts. These will flank the more powerful traditional GE machines, with the aim of widening the range and therefore their penetration in the market.

The first three research projects (out of a total of five) of GE’s “Galileo” program will be rolled out from 2016-2020. The government has earmarked €24 million of European Union funds, and the region will contribute €14.4 million.

“The work we are doing with Tuscany represents a model of what we should be doing in all the regions, because we are managing difficult crisis situations together, we are managing new investments, and we are doing it through teamwork between ministerial structures and political leaders,” said Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda.

The “Galileo” program, announced last January and with a total value of around €500 million ($600 million) has a strong digital component and fits therefore in the wake of the Industry 4.0 investments that the U.S. multinational has embraced for a while. GE is present in Tuscany with three plants (4,800 workers), in Florence, Massa and Carrara and it is about to create a fourth assembly plant for industrial modules in Piombino.

“Galileo” is also proposing to train a new generation of engineers specialized in the planning of technological innovation. There are 500 people who will be involved in this project: 330 from GE Oil&Gas and 170 from the academic and research world and small and medium-sized companies.