Cake
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    • I hope so. I mean, to be honest, what we were going for in the book is we want to be optimistic but with proper skepticism. So in my mind, the appropriate posture about fusion is it will almost certainly be an important part of the power blend, but it will be a while.

      There’s a company called Commonwealth Fusion, I think they started after we wrote our book, and they’re one of the heterodox small scale fusion projects everyone hopes will work. But the deal is, there’s a project called ITER, and it’s an ENORMOUS project, very costly, I think will be more costly than the Large Hadron Collider. We nerd out about this stuff and hope it will achieve ignition, the fusion equivalent of lighting a candle, so it can generate enough energy to keep the burn going. But supposing it does that, it still costs $30 billion dollars. Versus solar arrays going up now, which cost $1 billion to put up the equivalent solar setup. So even tomorrow if we had a perfect working fusion reactor, it still wouldn’t be a good choice for someone running a power company. It’s not just enough to say we can do it. It’s like a moon base, all the technology is out there to build one and has been since the 1960s, but there’s a big WHY. At least based on my research, it’s not obvious why any rational CEO would build a moon base, even if they had the money to do so. Similar for fusion: scientists could go to a power company executive tomorrow and say “I’ve done it! But it will be $20 billion dollar to build a power plant.”

      There are competing technologies out there. I still want people to be optimistic, because it is the ultimate energy source, it requires very little fuel, it can be put anywhere. If fusion worked, it will work everywhere. So I’m optimistic but skeptical, and hopefully one of the weird little companies will work out a solution.