5 Green Tech Stories You Should Be Reading: May 4, 2012

People are following closely the future of production tax credits for wind power, a home in Santa Fe, the sluggish sales of EVs, and how Germany is facing clean energy challenges that could lead to layoffs. It’s getting kind of dramatic–check it out.

image via Praxis Architects

1. “Electric Vehicle Sales Struggle in April” – The Detroit News – Sales of EVs in the US were down from 4,000 in March, a record high, to 3,500, and all despite some of the highest gas prices seen. Sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf both failed to meet predictions, and as a result, automotive companies are manufacturing EVs slowly and in keeping with demand. The plug-in Prius, however, almost doubled its sales.

2. “LEED Shoebox House in Santa Fe” – Jetson Green – The Shoebox House, named for its shape rather than as commentary on its size, is an LEED Platinum certified home in Santa Fe, designed by Praxis Design/Build’s Gabe Brown. The house, whose building costs totaled in at $319,600, includes two bedrooms, two baths and a separate art studio, as well as eco-conscious features like rainwater harvesting.

3. “Battle Grows Over Extending Tax Breaks for Wind Energy Producers” – Fox News – If production tax credits for wind energy producers are not extended after 2012, lawmakers warn, about 37,000 jobs nationwide will be put in jeopardy and the U.S. will miss out on valuable wind energy projects. However, the other side argues that forcing citizens to pay for what they see as an unsteady industry is not a good idea.

4. “Is the SolarCityIPO Just What the Greentech Doctor Ordered?” – Green Tech Media – SolarCity announced on Monday that it would be registering for IPO. The firm could be valued at $1.5 billion, but some experts say it might be hard to reach that level while other publicly traded solar companies are sagging badly. However, SolarCity might just pull it off. It has backing from companies like Google, and has lately been getting into energy efficiency and energy storage fields, thus broadening its horizons. Then again, it will still have to contend with some challenges, including “auditing issues.”

5. “Merkel’s Green Jobs Ambition Stalls with Cuts for Solar” – Bloomberg – Subsidy cuts and Chinese competition have caused German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s renewable energy efforts to falter. Although Germany’s renewable energy industry has created  31,600 jobs since 2004, the near-term future looks bleak, and Germany’s goal of replacing nuclear power with renewable energy will be delayed. At present, 62 percent of Germany’s solar companies said they expect to have to lay off workers, ad thousands of jobs are at risk.

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.