On the coal front, if you asked me today it might be in situ coal gasification - some good size projects going together now.
Last edited by cannuck; 03-19-13 at 07:34 PM.
We have huge reserves of hydrocarbons, massive reserves of nuclear fuel, and the possibility of even greater expansion of access to these resources. I think we will continue more or less as we have for the next 20 years as we slowly transition to spot production with solar and newer style nuclear reactors. The only realistic chance for replacing hydrocarbon's as a primary source of electricity is in a major breakthrough in solar efficiency and battery technology (and dramatic falls in un-subsidized cost), an adoption of nuclear on a large scale, or a breakthrough in something we cannot plan on expecting like fusion.
What alternative energy advocates tend to overlook is the need for mass generation at low costs in a way that can easily integrated. I'm fairly optimistic about the impact new technologies will have (as well as our capacity to exploit existing resources), but it is important to be grounded and realistic.