The beating heart requires a constant flux of ATP to maintain contractile function, and there is increasing evidence that energetic defects contribute to the development of heart failure. The last 10 years have seen a resurgent interest in cardiac intermediary metabolism and a dramatic increase in our understanding of transcriptional networks that regulate cardiac energetics. The PPAR-γ coactivator (PGC)-1 family of proteins plays a central role in these pathways. The mechanisms by which PGC-1 proteins regulate transcriptional networks and are regulated by physiological cues, as well as the roles they play in cardiac development and disease, are reviewed here. © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.