5 GreenTech Stories You Should Be Reading: April 18, 2012

Geothermal power in Kenya, a look at Obama’s green jobs initiative, and more on the way companies are seeking to make electric vehicles easier, cheaper and more popular. Read on to learn more.

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image via Nissan

1. “Ormat Wins Geothermal Generation Deal in Kenya’s Rift Valley” – Bloomberg – Next August, a new geothermal “modular power-generation unit,” providing five to ten megawatts of power, is expected to be operational in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, where shifting tectonic plates generate heat and steam. Kenya has an estimated capacity of 1,600 megawatts in geothermal power, and is looking to expand, planning a 400-megawatt facility for 2016.

2. “How Long Will Your Electric Car Battery Last? Science is On the Case” – Green Car Reports – In order to alleviate concerns about the longevity of EV battery packs, scientists are researching ways to test the lifespans of batteries within a few weeks, which would make it possible to provide more accurate predictions about the battery’s life, and allow EV manufacturers to create better battery management systems in their cars, and buyers of used EVs can have a better idea of the shape of the car they’re buying.

3. “Ford’s Tortoise Strategy Seems Right for Electric-Vehicle Race” – Forbes – Though Ford has been a fast-paced developer of hybrid vehicles, the company is taking it slow when it comes to completely electric cars, which, experts say, may be the exactly right idea. By allowing other companies to navigate the pitfalls for them, and by making electric versions of preexisting models in small, “to-order” batches, Ford can better anticipate the needs and wants of consumers.

4. “Analysis: Obama’s ‘Green Jobs’ Have Been Slow to Sprout” – Reuters – Under Obama’s presidency, clean energy generation has doubled, but the green jobs promised have grown less spectacularly, with only 20,000 people put into “green collar” jobs, far less than the original goal of 5 million. Complications have arisen, such as the fact that growth in the clean energy sector does not necessarily create jobs, as well as the debate over what makes a job green.

5. “IBM, Honda, Try to Connect EVs Directly to Utilities” – Greentech Media – Seeing if they can bypass the charger, and the limitation that come with it, Honda, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and IBM teamed up to test connecting EVs directly to the grid via cellular connection. Information would be sent back and forth between cars and utilities, informing drivers of battery states, and utilities of potential spikes in energy consumption when people charge their cars en masse.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.