Most of the energy consumed in the world today is concentrated in western Europe and the USA. The rest of the world combined does not equal the power needs of the USA alone. Energy output will need to quadruple if the energy demands of the USA are to be met in the future. The current cost of energy, using the energy technology currently in use, seems insane: $1000 per KW, at a cost of $2.2 trillion a year.
Currently, the majority of humans live on less than $2 a day.
Energy poverty has to be seen as the most significant contribution to inequality in life chances in the world. A person living on less than $2 a day will be focused only on buying food. The energy needed for creativity, productivity, networking and education is all well beyond the means of most people today.
Literally half the world has no electricity.
Imagine no phone.
Imagine no computer and therefore no access to the internet
Imagine no food storage device to keep food fresh and safe to eat.
Fusion is made from such plentiful resources as to make it cheap to produce. Boron is dissolved within seawater and hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe. There is no expensive waste to dispose of and no major investment needed in engineering or purchase of land. Fusion will likely cost no more than $60 KW at a total cost of $0.36 trillion a year.
Many argue that too much funding has already been sunk into fusion energy. A recent report to congress in America claimed that the government involvement in ITER should be reviewed due to chronic delays and the amount of money already sunk, with few results to show.
Yet, if you look at how American money is spent, this position that too much has gone into fusion looks doubtful. Here is the maths:
$22.4 billion has already been spent on fusion research. This is approximately $393 million a year: including NIF, Tokamak and other alternative fusion research. That is a lot of money, there is no doubt. But, then the energy bill will drop from over $2 trillion to under $0.4 trillion a year once fusion is feasible. High risk maybe but there is no doubting the possibility of high reward as well.
Then you look to what else the US government pay for each year. Energy currently only makes up 0.3% of the government research budget. Communications comes in at around 25% and defence nearly 50%. A stealth bomber costs $68.1 billion and one has been built every year for the last 10 years.
But it gets more depressing still when you consider the waste of money:
$68.1 billion is the cost of 72 days of war in Iraq or Afghanistan – were these oil fuelled wars, do you think?
$20 billion is the cost to clean up the gulf oil spill.
If you think that Americans cannot afford to invest in fusion, then consider how they spent $2 billion on life coaches in one year. Remember, this is when most of the world earns less than $2 a day. Remember, this is when even Americans are grossly over paying for the energy they buy, which is simultaneously destroying the world they live in.
Is it still clear that we are spending too much on fusion? The funding so far has shown no commitment at all to this viable energy alternative, which could bring change to the life of billions.