Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) offer an attractive solution to many environmental, security, and process monitoring problems. However, one barrier to their fuller adoption is the need to supply electrical power over extended periods of time without the need for dedicated wiring. Energy harvesting provides a potential solution to this problem in many applications. This paper reviews the characteristics and energy requirements of typical sensor network nodes, assesses a range of potential ambient energy sources, and outlines the characteristics of a wide range of energy conversion devices. It then proposes a method to compare these diverse sources and conversion mechanisms in terms of their normalised power density.