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GE wants a slice of the burgeoning green-data-centers pie — and it’s willing to spend half a billion dollars to get it.

The company, which manufactures everything from wind turbines to electric car charging stations, announced today it has acquired power conversion technology company Lineage Power for $520 million from Gores Group, an offering that GE says will help it leverage huge opportunities in telecom and making data centers more efficient.

In 2006, the government reported that data centers consumed 1.5 percent of all electricity in the U.S., costing $4.5 billion, and projected that energy use could nearly double by 2011, costing $7.4 billion a year. Kevin Skillern, who heads up GE’s energy venture capital investments told us he believes the rate is higher — three to four percent of U.S. energy output a year. GE has backed other green data center technology companies like JouleX and SynapSense in the past, but this acquisition is a major move into the sector.

Lineage Power makes energy efficient power conversion technology that converts the AC electricity delivered from the grid to DC electricity to power the servers and equipment in data centers. It also makes DC-DC power modules for telecom purposes and helps companies set up energy systems. Some companies have been demonstrating data centers running on all-DC power as of late, as a way to save energy.

Lineage Power had revenues of approximately $450 million last year and counts Verizon among its customers. It also appears to have a small fuel-cell business.

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