Green

On the GreenBeat: California electric car rebates could run dry; Carsharing catches on with major automakers

Here’s the latest action we’re following on the GreenBeat today:

California’s electric car rebates could run out — The state fund that pays $5,000 rebate California offers for zero-emission cars is currently funded with $8 million, enough to pay out 1,600 car buyers. But the amount of money available doesn’t match the pace of electric car rollouts, and would likely run out by mid-2011, according to advocacy group Plug In America, the Los Angeles Times reports. The state’s financial crisis could also mean the funds won’t be there to support the rebates in the future, the  state’s Air Resources Board said.

Carsharing catching on with major automakers — Daimler’s Car2go pilot program in Austin, Tex. has taken off to 15,000 participants in the first year, and PSA-Peugot-Citroen and BMW have launched similar programs, Autoblog Green points out. Zipcar has filed for an IPO and acquired Streetcar (Zipcar MINI Cooper pictured, left) ; carsharing-friendly legislation has also been passed in California, Earth2Tech notes.

Researchers make thermoelectric breakthrough — An international research effort has resulted in a discovery that could result in more efficient ways to create electricity from waste heat like industrial emissions and car exhaust, CleanTechnica reports. The breakthrough involves the thermoelectric effect — the creation of voltage by arranging materials of different temperatures adjacent to each other.

Federal regulators approve cost sharing for Midwest lines — The Federal Energy Regulation Commission has decided that new transmission lines in the Midwest must be paid for by all who will benefit from it, Greentech Media reports. The agency concludes that the decision will be good for renewable energy since it will allow transmission lines for wind power in the Midwest to be built — though there will likely be future battles over how big a portion individual wind farms will have to pay in conjunction with developers.

SunPower completes sale of 44-megawatt solar park – The company announced it has completed the sale of its Lazio, Italy Montalto di Castro solar park  to a group of international investors that include MetLife, Fondo PPP Italia  and Voigt & Collegen. SunPower designed and built the solar power plant and will continue to provide operations and maintenance.