My two pence...
The govt and eneergy companies cant win!
There is a growing energy requirement. So the energy companies need to produce more.
So, lets build some more coal + gas fired stations. Theyre cheap and can be fired up quickly to meet demand.
NO, YOU CANT, IT PRODUCES TOO MUCH CO2!!!!
OK then, how about a backbone of new nuclear plants? Expensive to set up, but then they produce huge amounts of power, with no CO2 output.
NO, YOU CANT, THE WASTE WILL KILL OUR GRANDCHILDRENS GRANDCHILDRENS GRANDCHILDRENS GRANDCHILDREN!!!!
Hmmm... OK then, lets build a shed load of wind farms. Fill every suitable hillside with them, and any suitable offshore area we can find. Very expensive, both to build and to maintain, and they still wont meet our energy demands, but people will just have to use less and pay more for it.
1) NO, YOU CANT, IT WILL SPOIL OUR COUNTRYSIDE, AND THAT LOVELY FIELD BY MY HOUSE WONT BE AS PRETTY!!!!
2) NO, YOU CANT, I'M NOT GOING TO USE LESS POWER, I NEED TO LEAVE MY COMPUTER ON ALL THE TIME OR ELSE I HAVE TO WAIT FOR IT TO BOOT UP!!!!
3) NO, YOU CANT, I'M NOT GOING TO PAY MORE FOR ELECTRICITY, IT'S ALREADY TOO EXPENSIVE AS IT IS!!!!
In my oppinion, this would be the best compromise, though no group would be happy about it:
Firstly, build a couple of large nuclear stations to produce a steady amount of power, running them at full (safe) capacity all the time.
Second, remove the possibility for people to object to wind farms based on it being an eyesore. We need them, so shut it. Only allow objections based on a reliable scientific study which shows harm being done specificaly at that site (eg killing of birds, but only if those deaths would be significant).
Third, only allow the running of enough coal/gas plants to top up energy output to meet demand.
Fourth, specify realistic energy limits per capita, to stop people wasting energy without degrading their standard of living, taxing those who exceed it. Do similar, dependant upon what exactly they do, to businesses.
Problem is, this will not happen, as the government is too scared of pissing people off coz they might not get re-ellected. It will piss off the greenies, coz there are still coal and gas plants, and new nuclear ones. It will piss off those who live or visit beautiful windy areas. It will piss off a lot of people who get taxed extra, and a lot of businesses who have to change to more efficient equipment.
This is the only viable short-to-medium term solution I can see at this point. Long term, we either discover a new, clean energy source that will meet our demands, or we drasticaly cut down on the energy we use, which will, neccessarily, involve a drop in the standard of living (barring a major breakthrough in energy efficiency). For example, drying your clothes on a clothes horse or washing line instead of in the dryer (eesh, hate doing that! Especialy shirt, coz it means I have to iron them!)