Megan McArdle has an interesting post on ridiculous comparison between the Manhattan Project and any future energy project.
The Manhattan Project had a relatively simple goal, blowing things up. We knew this goal was possible, because the sun was already doing it. At that, it consumed approximately 100% of the top physical science and engineering talent in the United States.
Well, yes, but we already could blow things up - it was on an entirely different scale. Saying it took the top physical science and engineering talent in the United States to figure out how to blow things up is a big ole kick in the nads to every redneck in the country. (To any offended redneck, I mean that in the nicest way. And you also obviously know you're a redneck if that offended you).
On a serious note, McArdle's article of displeasure with the idea of any heavily funded, top secret "Go Green Manhattan Project" misses the boat a bit. She makes point after point as to why, exactly, energy independence is impossible. But the question really is not whether achieving energy independence is possible, but whether it is affordable with public monies at this point. The answer is, quite simply, no.