The free-market has always provided greater incentives for technological progress than any beauracracy ever could. Just last year, John McCain came up with the "brilliant" idea of rewarding anyone who could invent a battery to efficiently power a car $300 million of taxpayer money. What he obviously didn't consider is that such an invention would make the inventor just as much if not more on the free-market. The incentives for progress are already there, so long as the government gets out of the way, ie through lower taxes and burdensom regulations. The free-market has a track record a million times bigger than government in solving our problems. And it's no different when it comes to our energy problems.
Why am I talking about this? Because I just read an article about an invention that will help restaurants save money spent on energy and recycle their used vegetable oil. It's called the Vegawatt, and was designed by James Peret. It didn't require any government intervention for Peret to design his machine. In fact, government intervention could have made it more difficult. Thankfully, the (mostly) free-market is there to provide just the right incentives for men like James Peret to use their inherent self-interest to advance the position of mankind. The article can be found here via the Wired magazine blog. (Pictured below is restaurant and first Vegawatt owner George Carey.)