Can companies like Algenol and Joule scale up to meet that goal? Yes, they can, although you're looking at needing 3 million acres, an area about the size of Pennsylvania, to do it. Then imagine homeowners' solar panels pushing what power their utilities won't take into batteries that can re-charge electric cars. Consider what that does to demand.
What turns solar, wind, crops and the earth's internal heat into clean fuels are intellectual and financial capital, and I believe the former is more important than the latter.
What companies like Algenol show me is that this country has intellectual capital in abundance, and that the sunset of our dependence on fossil fuels is in sight. That won't, by itself, cut the estimated value of reserves now in the ground, but by the end of the decade? Yes, it's very possible.
And if that's not an economic revolution, I don't know what is.
At the time of publication, the author had no investments in companies mentioned in this article.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.