This is arguably the pre-eminent opportunity in the 21st century for bringing science and engineering to bear on human needs," said professor Ernest Moniz, who will head up the effort, in a prepared statement. "Fossil fuels make up 85 percent of the world's present energy use, and developing economies will greatly increase their use of fossil fuels to meet their economic and social goals."
Investment and research into new forms of energy has been building over the last few years, but has come to a boil with the recent spike in oil prices. VC firms such as New Enterprise Associates have plunked money into companies such as Konarka Technologies, which makes flexible solar cells. Alternate energy is one of the three principal areas of research for Stanford.