I have been reading about the potential for fusion as the ultimate energy source for many, many years. For sure, progress has been made, especially recently. And a few brave souls have claimed that enough progress has been made to justify big investments.
But fusion is still not close. Or is it?
Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according to new research.
Researchers at Durham University and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, have re-examined the economics of fusion, taking account of recent advances in superconductor technology for the first time. Their analysis of building, running and decommissioning a fusion power station shows the financial feasibility of fusion energy in comparison to traditional fission nuclear power.
That is very interesting. But notice that fusion is compared to fission. If the price of renewables keeps falling, we may need to ask whether fusion can compete against solar and wind.
In any event, we may be headed for an energy rich century. Not from oil or gas or coal, but from a combination of less polluting and abundant sources.