Daily Sprout

Developing Countries Eye Efficiency: “Emerging markets are waking up to the fact that using energy more wisely puts money in consumer wallets, can help smooth out trade deficits and is better for the planet in terms of reducing carbon emissions.” — WSJ’s Environmental Capital

Nitrogen Dioxide Crackdown: The EPA has just proposed the first adjustment to nitrogen dioxide air quality standards since 1971, reflecting research on health problems caused by exposure to the gas, which is formed by emissions from vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities. — Green Car Congress

GM Sizes Up Volt Competition: The time has come GM’s (s GM) Chevy Volt team to hammer out details that will directly affect ride and handling. For the chassis, they’re trying to go “much more sporty” than the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight. — AutoblogGreen

Step Forward for Solar on Public Lands: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans Monday to assess 24 tracts of land in six Western states to see if they can support large solar arrays. By the end of next year, he expects 13 commercial-scale solar projects to be under construction on public lands. — NYT’s Green Inc.

Wells Fargo to Invest $100M in SunPower Projects: Wells Fargo has agreed to finance up to $100 million for solar projects to be built and maintained by SunPower (s SPWR), entitling the bank to a 30 percent tax credit or the equivalent in federal grants. — Greentech Media

Easing the Renewable Permit Backlog

Solar and wind companies trying to build big projects on U.S. public lands can breathe a sigh of relief — the long line for a permit from the Bureau of Land Management can finally start moving. The bureau, part of the Department of the Interior, said this weekend that it plans to use $41 million in stimulus funds to help reduce a backlog of pending applications for large-scale solar and wind projects on land it manages.

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The cash was announced by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar as part of a larger $305 million initiative at the bureau to restore public lands and watersheds. The initiative also includes funding for energy efficiency improvements at the bureau’s facilities, as well as some small-scale solar projects in Nevada, which are not part of the application backlog.

The backlog includes applications for 199 solar and 241 wind projects, Interior Department spokesman Frank Quimby told us. He said there are 65 projects in solar and wind that are far enough along in the development process that they can directly benefit from a speedier application process. Moving those projects along will certainly bring everyone else closer to the head of the line, although Quimby points out that not every application will be approved.
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