The ongoing disagreement about whether biofuels were effecting food availability, which 2nd generation biofuels offered most, whether wind farms polluted, if nuclear was a better option etc have become somewhat less significant.
(click image for full story online)
Now the economy is the unarguable brake on the development and implementation of alternate energies.
The economic downturn has forced the price of oil down which ends all investors and investees scrambling to the spreadsheet. It has further reduced the availability of capital in those cases where the venture capitalist is still interested in investing. The billions of dollars, euros etc of capital pumped into the banks to keep them afloat will inevitably lead to less money to be invested in subsidising alternate energy and probably more worrying into R&D.
The alternate energy movement runs the risk of faltering and again loosing momentum as it did after the fuel crisis in the 1980s.