The move of an Austrian steel foundry to North America has prompted worries that European energy prices are hurting the continent's economy. Officials now recognize that the rush to subsidize green energy is having its costs. Stanley Reed reports in The New York Times. Coincidentally, Romania has just opened Europe's largest (subsidized) onshore wind farm.
After a tough year in which many of it's subsidies are being challenged, renewable energy seems poised for a rebound - at least according to Brian Pacampara on Motley Fool. Richard Blackwell of the Toronto Globe and Mail sees a ray of hope for renewable energy stocks and New York State announces it will spend $250 million on renewable projects.
Production in the Marcellus is up and it looks like it may not be slowing down, either. Although many have anticipated that the Environmental Protection Agency might use President Obama's re-election as a signal for a crackdown, a preliminary report from the EPA seems to have softened it's tone. Meanwhile the Department of Energy says natural gas will play a "central role" in the US economy.
The word now is that sales of electric vehicles are starting to pick up, although from a very low base. The Volt, for instance, will sell 22,000 models this year, double it's 2011 sales but what the best-selling models move in one month. Meanwhile, PRNewswire reports that manufacturers are developing wireless charging systems and MIT reports two new advances toward cheaper batteries.
Finally, the Rockefeller University's Program for the Human Environment reports a startling piece of good news. The world appears to have reached "peak farmland.". Crop varieties and new techniques developed by the Green Revolution have so improved yields that even though populations continue to grow and people are eating better, the amount of land under cultivation has leveled off and even started to decline. Only the attempt to wring biofuels out of agricultural land is preventing the trend from gaining momentum. Jesse Ausubel (above), director of the program ,is the bearer of this good news.