One of the reasons I check in on Asymmetrical Information is that every once in awhile you get a nice informative rational discussion. This one's about oil and alternative energy.
As far as I'm concerned the goal is still "too cheap to meter." That's what the promise was back in the 60's when nuclear power was coming online. I still think that it can be done, but it's not going to be done with oil. That's the best reason for alternative energy research I can think of. Free energy would be one of those things that fundamentally transforms the world we live in. Like the industrial revolution. It's a big step towards living in a Star Trek type universe where money becomes irrelevant, or so leveraged that even the poor can live at a ridiculous (by current ideas) standard. The sooner we can move out of these mud huts we live in the better, as far as I'm concerned.