Washington Post: U.S. Car Sales Hit Record High in 2015
Drivers in the United States bought more cars last year than ever before, a staggering turnaround for an auto industry fighting for its life half a decade ago, as low gas prices and a strengthening economy marked a banner year on American roads.
About 17.5 million cars and trucks were sold last year, automakers said Tuesday, overtaking the 17.3 million sales in 2000 and far outpacing the 10.4 million sales in 2009, when taxpayers paid billions to bail out the bedrock of America’s automotive might.
PV Magazine: Frustration of German PV Subsidies
Funding for battery storage for small solar PV systems in Germany ceased at the end of 2015. The federal government is said to still be working on the new program, which should start "as early as possible in 2016" and end in 2018. Exactly when and how the support will work is still anyone’s guess, however.
A ministry spokesperson confirmed to PV Magazine that the time gap between the two programs should be kept to a minimum. No other details could be shared, however, although the ministry has said the new funding round is expected to end in 2018. Exact conditions will only be published in the wake of the funding announcement.
The Guardian: BA Blames U.K. Government for Scrapping of £340M Green Fuels Project
British Airways says that it has been forced to shelve a groundbreaking £340M scheme to create 16M gallons of jet fuel from London’s rubbish every year, partly due to a lack of government support.
The Green Sky project was due to open in 2017 at an ex-oil refinery in Thurrock, Essex, where it would have turned into gas 575,000 tonnes of household waste that would otherwise have been landfilled or incinerated.
Enough green fuel would have been produced to power all BA’s yearly flights from London City airport twice over, with carbon savings equivalent to taking 150,000 cars off the road.
New York Times: Bitter Debate Over Nuclear Power Simmers in Rural South Korea
In 2010, the 399 mostly older people who made up the population of three villages agreed to give up their land and their centuries-old way of life to make room for something few other places wanted: a nuclear power plant.
That act plunged the surrounding Yeongdeok County into a bitter debate over whether the plant would be a savior or a death knell. The clash also revealed the depth of despair in South Korea’s increasingly empty rural communities, as well as growing misgivings about the country’s heavy dependence on nuclear power.
LA Times Op-Ed: China's Electric Car Lesson
In January 2014, China sold only 600 so-called new energy vehicles -- predominantly electric cars. In December 2014, China sold more than 15,000 EVs as local governments scrambled to meet fleet mandates. In November of last year, China sold more than 25,000 electric cars -- more than twice as many as the U.S. (Of course, China's overall auto market is also larger: In 2014, China sold about 24 million vehicles compared with the United States' 17 million.)
Washington provides a sad, sharp contrast. After binge spending on EVs during the 2009 stimulus, the federal government retrenched. It eliminated most of its expenditures on EV technology and practically zeroed out funding for charging infrastructure. Washington's conversation on electric cars has degenerated into partisan squabble.