The island of Puerto Rico, with those steady breezes, now pays almost $0.28 per kilowatt-hour for the energy generated by gas turbines. The state-owned Electric Energy Authority decided to invest in 20 wind turbines in hopes of generating electricity they can sell for $0.09 per kilowatt-hour. The project budget is $160,000,000 and slated completion is 2015. The photo below shows a New Zealand project.
The spiked energy prices of the last year will create lots of opportunities in the near future. I think biofuels (switchgrass, poplar trees, etc) converted to ethanol may be one of the big winners, but they still have a couple of chemical engineering challenges to solve at the large scale factory level. Corn ethanol has always been and will remain dead on arrival. It’s a terrible idea to tie food and energy together.
Who knows if the world is really ready to start permitting the construction of nuclear reactors again, but I doubt it in this NIMB (not in my backyard) world. Certainly America will have to have significantly harder economic times for that big of a shift in mindset.
The one rising star in the energy field will certainly be wind power. It won’t ever be a primary world source of energy, but in certain regions it will absolutely be significant. So way to go Puerto Rico, you did good!