Distributed generation of renewable energy is off to a rocky start, but it's finally making some headway.
The research side is looking good. The $28 billion request in the US president's FY 2011 budget for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy includes large increases for programs including wind, weatherisation, smart grid technologies, and solar — plus $58 million for National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) infrastructure and $50 million to stimulate clean energy education.
An additional $300 million would support the Advanced Research Project Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) initiative. Modeled after the DARPA program that resulted in the Internet, ARPA-E will fund the fundamental research to incubate the energy grid of the future, what Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe termed the Enernet.
Yes, this is about the US, but we live in their shadow & adopt their technologies. The Internet was invented there but we all benefit.