Fusion is the holy grail of electricity generation. When the technology is available it will become the main workhorse of electricity generation, especially if the costs per KW are very low. It will most likely replace existing GHG emitting power stations (coal and natural gas), and may make other renewable solutions obsolete. If the cost of electricity becomes very low it may create a paradigm shift in our use of energy and in the American way of life.
The catch is that we do not know if or when fusion will be possible, whether it could be commercialized and at what speed and costs. It could be that the first experiment will be successful within a decade, but it could take as long as the end of the century. Our forecast is for the first successful fusion in the lab in 10-15 years. Commercial implementation: another 10-15 years.
This leads us to the following conclusions:
- Do not build any assumption of Fusion availability into the U.S. energy policy
- Fusion could provide the U.S. with a tremendous strategic advantage. The first nation to implement a commercial fusion power plant will win the energy race and will enjoy the economic fruits for decades.
- It can also be part of an ultimate solution package for global warming.
- We should continue with our heavy investment in R&D on the subject and increase it if necessary.
- Once a breakthrough is achieved, the U.S. energy policy will have to be revolutionized.