Delbert L. Williamson

Del Williamson is president of GE Power Systems Global Sales Operation. In this position, he is responsible for the commercial activities for GE Power Systems products and services throughout the world.

Williamson joined General Electric in 1959 and has since held a variety of management positions for the Steam Turbine, Gas Turbine, Distribution Transformer and Nuclear Energy divisions. In 1980, he became general manager for the Battery Business Department and in 1983 moved to London as vice president, Middle East and Africa Business Division.

In 1986, Williamson returned to the United States as vice president of marketing and sales for the Power Generation business. In 1993, he moved to Hong Kong where he was president of GE Power Systems Asia-Europe-Africa. He was appointed to his current position in September 1997.

W-G: One class of 2001 thesis held that 90 percent of current capacity would be replaced by 2015. Please comment on that theory?

First, it's important to recognize that with the unprecedented number of capacity additions over the last three years in the U. S. -- the average age of power generation equipment has naturally decreased. Even given that fact, however, the new capacity added only represents about 150 of the 900 GigaWatts of installed capacity. The result is that 750GW of our installed capacity is approaching an average age of 30 years!

Looking out ten years, that indicates most of the equipment currently operating will be close to what is normally considered retirement age. That picture is a bit deceptive, however, because much of the capacity gap will be offset by upgrades, efficiency improvements and other technological enhancements that will extend the life of today's equipment. When all of this is taken into consideration, the 90% figure would seem rather high.

If I were to give a "best guess" on what percentage of the current capacity will require replacement by 2015, I would place it in the 50-60% range.

W-G: World-Generation charts a rebound of up to 155 merchant GWs between 2006-2012; please comment.

Those projections would seem to be in the ballpark. After 2006 we would expect to see additional capacity requirements to come back to previous levels -- which was in the range of 85-95 GigaWatts per year. Around the world you can probably expect an annual growth rate of 3-4% each year.

W-G: Please update GE's forecasts for new capacity in Mexico, Latin America, Europe and Asia?

When you look at Mexico that is clearly a place where we see some growth potential for hydro and combined cycle. In terms of the rest of Latin America the prospects for power generation growth in places like Brazil, Argentina and other countries in the region are, at least for the very near future, weak.

In Europe we see steady but marginal growth opportunities. The markets in Spain and Italy are certainly active and the markets in both Eastern Europe and Russia look encouraging.

Finally, looking at Asia, there is an interesting mix of growth opportunities. Korea certainly will be an area with potential for growth and in Taiwan there will be bidding for 4000 MW of new combined cycle generation this spring. The most significant opportunity is in China - a market with huge potential.