Quite a while back, Instapundit pointed to Phil Bowermaster, who cites that "The (Solar) Singularity is Near.
I just don't know.
I easily recall starting my Engineering studies in 1980, with a viewpoint that energy costs were going to do nothing but go up, and that a future in alternate energy sources seemed like a "secure" thing. By the time I'd graduated, a barrel of crude was ~ $5/bbl. Oil was cheap, and the domestic energy exploration industry (and with it, the local Houston economy and "alt.energy" industries like solar) was practically dead.
Yeah, yeah, that was a long time ago. And China and India were not online. The China/India factor is what's really pushing up the prices, and why I'll think they'll never go down - at least, for quite a while.
I find aspects of today's energy debate disturbing. On the one hand, there's the environmentalists who think we can just save our way to success (as well as develop the alt. energy sources). On the other, there's the folks who want to drill for oil everywhere - in ANWR, and off of each of the USA's "pristine" coasts (Pacific, Atlantic, and E. Gulf of Mexico - and yes, Texas & Louisiana are acutely aware that the rest of the US doesn't think their coastline is as "pristine" as theirs, but they're willing to take the $).
I personally think that BOTH sides are right. As Robert Zubrin points out, the real issue is an economic one, not one based on CO2 emissions (as it always has been - see the "Omissions and Emissions" portion of his article). We need to do the drilling, including in the "sensitive" areas, and do the other things (more coal use w/CO2 sequestration, shale oil use, Nuke power, etc). However, the amount of coal, oil, and uranium in the ground is finite, to whatever economic point we want to go at it, that drilling etc. will only buy us time. We can use that time to develop renewable resources. It's time for all of us to stop the political/philosophical posturing and get on with the right short term and long term goals.
In spite of what some may think, energy independence is a worthy goal.