Time to follow the money. Toyota has pulled back from its plan to assemble the hybrid Prius in the U.S. The Japanese carmaker has decided to not complete a factory being built in Mississippi. Originally the factory was slated to assemble the Higlander SUV, then altered to be a planned Prius plant when SUV sales slumped. Now Toyota is hurting like all car dealers and they've postponed several capital projects including the Prius plant. Any Prius purchased in America will continue to be imported. Prius sales BTW in November were down nearly 50% from a year before, slumping far more than the overall car sales market in the U.S.
GREENTECH SPENDING TO CONTINUE?
A new Forrester study finds that capital spending on greentech and emergy conservation will continue as corporations carefully measure where the money goes next year. And some start-ups are boldly forging ahead. Grays Harbor Ocean Energy has applied for federal approval to build seven offshore wave energy installations around the coastal U.S. Here's what their website says about the proposed electricity generating facilities:
"The Company has applied for federal preliminary permits for the development of seven sites offshore of six US states, each about 100 square miles and capable of generating up to 1000 MW each. The sites are in California [two], Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. The permit applications are for wave power only; the wave power will be generated from platforms that can also support wind turbines."
This is a truly ambitious proposal with an estimated price tag of $28 billion, making it the largest planned renewable energy project in the U.S. I'm endeavoring to find out where that money might come from. Click here for the answer.
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Remember railroads? They're still around and in some places they're latest in energy-efficient mass transit. Now there's a push in Congress to get approval for a slew of new high speed rail corridors in urban parts of America. Here's the website of the Florida Republican who's pushing for these high-speed rail projects.
Here's the official summary of the bill: "Directs the Secretary of Transportation to solicit proposals for projects for the financing, design, construction, and operation of an initial high-speed rail system between Washington, DC, and New York City, New York (Northeast Corridor). Requires the Secretary to: (1) determine whether a proposal is feasible; and (2) establish a commission for each corridor for which one or more feasible proposals are submitted. Directs the Secretary to report to Congress on the results of an economic development study of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service."
This project would appear to be one of those that could fall under the rubric of public works and economic stimulus. Will we see a railroad revival in America?
The bill would require express rail service from New York to Wahsington D.C. in under two hours. Compare that to the hassle of any commercial air travel you may have done.