Almost all energy production and consumption is very inefficient. Most of what is generated is lost as heat. How to capture, transfer, and utilize (more of) this “wasted” heat ” as a desired (by)product of “cogeneration” is an important area to consider in future energy sourcing and policy. So is storing and making use of (potential) power from kinetic energy produced and expended for movement. Everything from foot falls as people walk, taking advantage of weight, gravity, speed, and acceleration as things like elevators go up and down and wheels go round and round could both save and provide needed power. An independent and self-sustaining “perpetual motion machine” may not (yet or even ever) be possible, but potentials for improvement in even already existing technology is both enormous, highly desirable, and undoubtedly possible.
A lot of energy, attention, research, and resources seem to focused on developing and harnessing energy from the [solar radiation], wind (but not other forms of temperature gradient or barometric pressure differentials), (surface, subterranean, and atmospheric) fresh water and flow, cycling, capture, restriction, and rerouting [hydro], ocean currents, tides, and temperatures [OTEC], volcanic and earth core connected underground heat and pressure [geothermal], extracting energy from (burning or breaking down) plants [biomass] – as (supplemental) alternatives to coal, petroleum [oil], (natural) gas, other fossil fuels, and atomic/nuclear sources. Far less time, money, or interest seems directed toward examining, evaluating, or prioritizing the actual needs are that we are trying to satisfy – and why; redesigning, retrofitting, and/or optimizing our infrastructure; or making the most of the materials, methods, and models currently in use.
There is a huge difference between needing and using less as the result of “conservation”, being more “efficient”, and simply shifting what is done, when, and why. An incredible amount of energy is currently required and expended for transportation – including the transmission of the energy itself. Instead of working on how to better move from place to place, it would make more sense to figure out how less movement is needed (less often).