I think AE it is being held back by the following factors:
Click Here for more.
Kevin's 2 cents on Alternate Energy
What's holding up AE?
Being in the middle means you get shot at from both sides....
It may be easiest to define my position on alternate energy (AE) by saying I am halfway between the two extremes that sometimes seem to dominate the discussion -
I am neither a true believer nor a total nay-sayer: I believe alternate energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal and biomass can help meet part of our future energy needs. But it is not going to be easy or cheap and there are a bunch of trade-offs to be considered. We must behard nosed and realistic about the capabilities and limitations of the various AE options if we want to make real progress. Call me a radical centerist.
Then there are a few things I think you should know....
Part One: framing the argument -
The first section is more about how people discuss AE than about AE itself. In My Humble Opinion, many AE discussions suffer from one or more common errors in how the argument is presented. Excessive hype, the fondness for catestrophic predictions (particularly in the media), impressive but meaningless statistics and improper generalizations are among the problems that produce misleading impressions. Click Here for more on the most common pitfalls to avoid.
Want to participate intelligently in the Alternate Energy debate?
Where does our energy currently comes from? How is it used? How much is wasted?
Whats a Watt? A Kilowatt hour? A BTU? A horsepower?
Click Here for a quick over view of:
    -  our current energy sources (petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro)
    -  where it goes (residential, industrial, transportation)
    -  a few comments on probable developments and opportunities
 
CLICK HERE for a few technical tidbits that are important when discussing energy.
(Techie nerds can skip this part. For the rest of you: I promise it won't hurt too much!)
    -  Definitions of common energy units
    -  Treat your Kilowatts like Joules!
    -  Energy conversion
Part Two: Understand some technical background -
The characteristics of different alternate energy sources
Part Three: The possibilities of alternate energy
Think systems, not isolated technologies
Understand the scale required for serious energy production
Is solar power ready to shine? Will we get blow away by wind power?
Click Here for my take on the advantages, disadvantages and possibilities for a variety of alternate energy sources.
People focus too much on a particular aspect of technology and lose sight of the "big picture". For example, people get excited "because fuel cells are 70% efficient, much higher than internal combustion engines". But the 70% figure is only for the hydrogen to electricity conversion. How was the hydrogen generated and what was the efficiency of that process? How was it stored and transported and what were the losses involved there? Whether its hydrogen or wind or biofuels you need to look at ALL of the inputs and outputs from one end of the system to the other in order to make reasonable choices.
As the solar path light comparison at the top of the page indicates, size really does matter. Stuff that works for a small application may or may not scale well.
So what are the answers? Click here...
This entire section is a work in progress and might get updated (someday).