Advances in micro-electronics and miniaturized mechanical systems are redefining the scope and extent of the energy constraints found in battery-operated wireless sensor networks (WSNs). On one hand, ambient energy harvesting may prolong the systems’ lifetime or possibly enable perpetual operation. On the other hand, wireless energy transfer allows systems to decouple the energy sources from the sensing locations, enabling deployments previously unfeasible. As a result of applying these technologies to WSNs, the assumption of a finite energy budget is replaced with that of potentially infinite, yet intermittent, energy supply, profoundly impacting the design, implementation, and operation of WSNs. This article discusses these aspects by surveying paradigmatic examples of existing solutions in both fields and by reporting on real-world experiences found in the literature. The discussion is instrumental in providing a foundation for selecting the most appropriate energy harvesting or wireless transfer technology based on the application at hand. We conclude by outlining research directions originating from the fundamental change of perspective that energy harvesting and wireless transfer bring about