Despite an appearance of impasse, the shape of the energy future for the nation is being given clear form by decisions that are being made at the present time. The most visible issues--the focus of headlines and rhetoric on controversies over siting of major new facilities for supplying energy--paint a scene characterized by conflict, delay and impasse. That scene is only half the picture, however, for among the participants within the arena of conflict an increasingly powerful consensus is being established on at least three central points: (1) prices of energy are going up, (2) environmental costs must be accounted for, if not by prices, then by policies, (3) large uncertainties inhere in most of the major factors that are involved in planning for energy. While that consensus serves to delay construction of major new supply facilities, at the same time it provides a powerful incentive to end-users of energy to focus their concerns on improved efficiency in use of energy and in developing "self-help" supplies of energy. That measure of consensus points out with a high probability the general direction that future energy developments will take: (1) increasing constraint on expansion of centralized sources of supply, and (2) increasing emphasis on energy conservation and self-help supplies of energy, both of which will reduce demands for energy in the market.