Much of the buzz around electric vehicles has focused on automobiles, including the launch of production plug-in vehicles by Nissan and General Motors in December 2010. These vehicles are slated to be followed over the next 18 months by models from Ford, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Tesla, among others.

It seems one measurable effect of global warming -- or the fear of global warming -- has been a thaw in the chilly relations between U.S. politicians and the hydroelectric industry. For the first time since the rise of the environmentalist movement in the 1960s, properly developed hydropower is being recognized in political circles as an environmentally friendly, emissions-free, domestically produced source of renewable energy.