This piece by Bill Gates in the latest issue of Science is highly recommended:
Last year, I joined with other business leaders in a call to increase federal investment in energy R&D from $5 billion to $16 billion a year.† (Others, including the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, have also recommended substantial increases.‡) Recently, our group, the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), issued a second report outlining ways to ensure that government research dollars are targeted wisely to achieve optimal returns. The report also suggests ways to pay for the increased investment: reducing or eliminating current subsidies to well-established energy industries, diverting a portion of royalties from domestic energy production, collecting a small fee on electricity sales, or imposing a price on carbon. Any combination of these could provide the funds needed to increase energy innovation. Even at almost triple the current level of government investment in energy innovation, the research dollars that the AEIC is advocating would represent a small fraction of the money presently spent on renewable energy subsidies and efficiency grants.