Recently, the role of nanostructured materials in addressing the challenges in energy and natural resources has attracted wide attention. In particular, oriented nanostructures demonstrate promising properties for energy harvesting, conversion, and storage. In this Review, we highlight the synthesis and application of oriented nanostructures in a few key areas of energy technologies, namely photovoltaics, batteries, supercapacitors, and thermoelectrics. Although the applications differ from field to field, a common fundamental challenge is to improve the generation and transport of electrons and ions. We highlight the role of high surface area to maximize the surface activity and discuss the importance of optimum dimension and architecture, controlled pore channels, and alignment of the nanocrystalline phase to optimize the transport of electrons and ions. Finally, we discuss the challenges in attaining integrated architectures to achieve the desired performance. Brief background information is provided for the relevant technologies, but the emphasis is focused mainly on the nanoscale effects of mostly inorganic-based materials and devices.