The best sources of energy in the short term are wind and solar because they are zero emission. In the medium term, fission power plants will be the best option, but waste recycling programs and long term storage of unusable waste are imperative to safely get the most out of fission energy. In the long term, fusion energy has the potential to produce billions of times more energy than even nuclear fission. As world energy consumption rises, world oil reserves may not even last another century.
Solar energy has the natural benefit of being most efficient in the summer, when air conditioning and washing clothes are at their peak. A lot of new solar technology is being developed. Soon we will be able to apply a solar tarp or paint on solar cells rather. Even with relatively bulky and inefficient solar cells, countries around the world are reducing their dependence on fossil fuels by as much as 20 percent over the next 15 years. Germany, Japan, and Australia should be models for the rest of the developed world.
Solar panels seem like an obvious solution to a number of problems in the undeveloped world: running water purifiers, producing a sellable resource (energy) that famine stricken regions could export, lighting hospitals, etc. Strained power grids will welcome the relief of solar power. As global warming as well as the earth’s shifting magnetic field reduce the ozone layer, solar energy hitting the Earth’s surface intensifies.
Wind energy is also notoriously inefficient and requires costly maintenance, but where well designed windmills are placed strategically, they could provide an effective relief from fossil fuel dependence. Communities are going to have to start accepting their appearance as a sign of progress. In combination with geothermal energy, wind and solar energy can virtually eliminate household energy dependence on fossil fuels. We might as well harness these free and permanent energy sources to the maximum extent possible.
Secure and reliable fission power plant designs exist now. More and more are being built around the world. This country needs to find places for long term storage of radioactive waste and create an efficient way to safely transport waste the that site. We also need to recycle as more and more fission power plants are built. France is a good model for the recycling of fission power plant waste.
Fusion research needs to continue as it has yet to achieve power grid break-even. We are at least several decades from a fusion power plant scheme. In the long run, fusion has the potential to provide the most energy of any known source by at least a factor of ten million. With fuel derived from sea water, and negligible radioactive waste, it is the obvious choice for a long term energy source.