Alternative energy businesses and their financing got completely hammered in the second half of 2008: the Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation Index fell at almost twice the rate of the Dow (down nearly 34% for 2008). But there's some good news:
New Energy Finance's Newsletter for Dec 9-15, 2008 reports that thin-film PV module manufacturing costs are approaching the $1 / watt mark. This puts price pressure on crystalline silicon-based PV, which is bad for the industry right now. But it's good for research.
The nutty green jet guy isn't a nut after all. Air New Zealand just test-drove a 747 running on a mix of jet fuel and the jatropha plant.
A zero-carbon city is due to arise in 2009, not in the US or EU but in the UAE - with major funding from the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.
Lots of bad 2008 trends will continue, but 2009 will be an interesting year for energy research. At it looks like this research will be more globally distributed and multi-polar than every before.