2. General Electric

No surprise here. In its second century of operation, GE remains one of the dominant forces in energy. It jousts with Vestas for the top spot in wind, is trying to establish WiMax as a standard for grid communications, and its oil and gas unit has a $400 million contract to provide compression equipment and services to the world's biggest carbon capture project. Last May, GE unfurled a plan to start producing sodium batteries for trains and the grid, giving Japan's NGK Insulators its first major competitor.

Recently, it said it would re-enter the market for solar panels in 2011 with cadmium telluride solar panels that will set a new efficiency standard. The announcement marked the first challenge from a major player for First Solar in a while. LED light bulbs come out later this year. OLEDs? Hopefully soon. 

This energy behemoth has also devised an electronic home strategy so that all of your GE appliances will link smoothly into demand response and smart grid services. John McDonald, the chair of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Governing Board at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will oversee home grid standards. He came from GE.

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