As oil was the dominant energy source in the 20th Century, the energy winners in the 21st Century will be those who dominate the battery materials and manufacture. There is some question whether the federal spending on battery tech will get the U.S. back into the game. Here's a blog looking at the various aspects of the global battery competition. It was published on the hybrid owners website on February 20th so it will remain in their archive after it moves off the front page. Sorry, couldn't find a permalink!?
I mistakenly assumed a certain level of technical sophistication among the readers of this blog. Ooops. One talkback writer accuses me of believing that betteries create energy. Duh.
Let's make this perfectly clear: industrial scale batteries are going to be crucial if we ever manage to move away from fossil fuels which can burn any time or 24/7. Wind, tidal, solar energy all have peaks and valleys beyond human control. That means high capacity and efficient batteries are going to be crucial to moving away from oil and coal. They can store excess energy when it is available.
Of course, nuclear power is also 24/7 and would not require great new battery capacity, but that's a steep political climb in nearly every country right now.