ABB Develops Device to Aid Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy; American Wind Energy Association Asks Congress to Extend Production Tax Break - Energy Minute for December 19, 2012

Dec 19, 2012 9:00 AM ET
Press Release

ABB, a Swiss-based power technology and automation company, has developed a new device that may prove critical to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The hybrid HVDC—for high voltage direct current—breaker makes it possible to use updated direct current in large power grids without the breakdown problems that hampered the technology in the past. DC can transmit current over very long distances with less loss of power than alternating current, making it ideal for conveying the full electrical output of wind farms and solar generating stations to distant cities.

The American Wind Energy Association, whose members include GE and the U.S. unit of Siemens, has asked Congress to extend the production tax break for six years, a time frame it said was long enough to cut costs and short enough to ease fears the credit will become a permanent part of the tax code. The break, scheduled to expire this month, cuts one-third of the costs to generate wind power. Industry advocates contend its loss could cost thousands of jobs. Under the proposal, the credit’s value would fall gradually over the six years. the Washington-based trade group said the credit’s “continued availability for a reasonable period of time will allow the industry to invest in the cost-saving technologies required to finish the job.”

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