Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

The World Should Be 100% Powered By Renewable Energy Before Nuclear Fusion Is Commercially Competitive

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

The U.S. Department of Energy announced some big nuclear fusion news this week. It is truly gigantic scientific news, and I don’t intend to downplay the breakthrough at all here. I’m amazed and thrilled U.S. scientists were able to produce net-positive energy for a brief moment in a laser-based nuclear fusion ignition. Though, I think it’s also important to provide some broader clean energy context.

I haven’t seen anyone claim that this will lead to commercially viable nuclear fusion in the coming few years. It appears that the goal is to do so within a few decades. With that being the case, as cool as this is, nuclear fusion isn’t the — or even a — solution to global warming. On the electricity generation side of things, the world should be 100% powered by clean, renewable energy by the time laser-based nuclear fusion is on the market.

Wind and solar power are already the cheapest options for new electricity generation capacity in most of the world, and new solar and wind power capacity has become more competitive than electricity generation from existing coal or natural gas power plants in a few markets. In other words, even operating some established fossil power plants is more expensive than building new wind and solar power plants in some places.

We’ve written about plans for a 100% renewable-powered world for several years — actually, for more than a decade! If you have not read those pieces, here are a few top choices to explore how the world could clean up its electricity act long before nuclear fusion is on the table:

Switching The World To Renewable Energy Will Cost $62 Trillion, But The Payback Would Take Just 6 Years

47 Scientists: World Should Go 100% Renewable Electricity By 2030

Transitioning The World To 100% Renewable Energy

Transitioning The World To 100% Renewable Energy — Part 2

Perhaps it’s time to interview Mark Z. Jacobson again about the potential for a 100% renewably powered world and how to get there.

Adding another perspective with similar conclusions, see:

US Energy 2050: 100% Carbon Free, 100% Electric, Up Our Game 6× (Part 1)

US Energy 2050: 100% Carbon-Free, 100% Electric, Up Our Game 6× (Part 2)

Overall, further developing nuclear fusion is great and it should help to diversify our energy system far in the future. More options are typically better. However, the path for a 100% clean energy world is clear and simple. Build more solar power farms, rooftop solar installations, and wind farms. Also build more battery storage systems to help integrate those into the grid. Overbuild solar and wind power in order to supply enough electricity at times of low wind and solar production and in order to not have to build too many batteries (which are urgently needed for electric transport). Implement better demand response, time-of-use pricing, and other flexible-grid solutions. While renewables are cheap and quick to install, nothing is quicker or cheaper than good energy efficiency solutions. Smarter grid management is also simple, cheap, and can be fun. Electric vehicles can easily act as large-scale, widely distributed, stealthy energy storage solutions as well, a more and more viable option each day as new electric vehicles hit the road.

We have solutions. We can wait for nuclear fusion, and we will patiently do so for another several years.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.
Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

A DOE lab has created a fusion event that created more energy than it consumes -- something that has never happened before.


Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! There were a couple of interesting developments in...

Clean Power

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! In August of 2021 at Lawrence Livermore National...

Clean Power

Mark Jacobson and his team have published a renewable energy study in which they argue the payback time is just 6 years.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.