China Turns Off Lights

China is switching off standard incandescent bulbs as part of a multi-national campaign to ban the inefficient lighting, according to Reuters.

The transition will be made in the next 10 years, according to the announcement made by the Global Environmental Facility at the Reuters Global Environmental Summit in Washington. A formal announcement will be released in December, according to the Reuters story.

The initiative could hugely spur alternative bulbs including compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

It comes after Australia in February banned the bulb and California began considering a similar measure. And after Wal-Mart this week announced it already reached its goal of selling 100 million energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs this year.

Braemar Adds $250M To Funding Glut

The New York City-based Braemar Energy Ventures announced Thursday that it had closed a $250 million fund for energy-related technology.

The news comes amidst an outpouring of recently-raised venture funding for cleantech - including $700 million towards new funds in the last few weeks alone, on top of Braemar's Thursday announcement. That has some industry observers whispering the dreaded word - bubble - and wondering whether or not there are enough worthy startups to seep up all the cash floating around cleantech.

Mr. Suslak thinks there are. "There's still enormous opportunity, in our view," Suslak said. "This capital is still really small compared to the entire energy sector."

Suslak argued that the money flowing to cleantech will only lure more talented entrepreneurs into the sector, and entice experienced energy company managers to join up with startups.

Braemar's over-subscribed fund includes investment from MassMutual, AlpInvest Partners, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Robeco, GIC Special Investments, Macquarie and the PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund (sponsored by CalPERS).

Tampa Cancels Gasification Plant

Tampa Electric said Thursday it canceled plans for a plant that would have converted coal and other materials into a gas, citing uncertainty about potential regulations for capturing and sequestering carbon-dioxide emissions in the future.

The company said it still hopes to pursue so-called integrated gasification combined-cycle technology once policies are put in place. But in the meantime, it will not use the $133.5 million in tax credits it previously expected to get from the project.

The announcement is interesting because, while new coal plants have come under fire (see Coal Under Fire), so-called "clean coal" technologies have received funding. GreatPoint Energy raised $100 million last month.

A report by a nonprofit task force earlier this week recommended pursuing more coal-derived energy to meet the need for more energy (see below).

Studies Say More Energy Needed

Demand for renewable energy is outpacing supply, which will result in renewable energy price hikes. At least that's what USA Today wrote Thursday when it published findings from a National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, which is due out next week.

The potential fallout, according the daily publication, lies in states' inabilities to meet their clean-energy mandates.

Commonly, such mandates come in the form of what is called a "renewable portfolio standard," where state policy dictates that electricity providers get a percentage of their power from renewable energy sources.

Currently, 24 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted the standards, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Four other states, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, and Vermont, have forgone the standards for nonbinding renewable energy adoption goals.

Also this week, a study found that declining oil production coupled with rising demand is increasing the United States' dependence on foreign oil, the Task Force on Strategic Unconventional Fuels, a non-profit started by the U.S. Secretary of Energy, delivered the not-so-profound news.

But instead of suggesting green alternatives to help fuel the country's energy needs. The task force recommended pursuing "vast unconventional resources," including oil shale, enhanced oil recovery, and coal-derived liquids.