Interesting news on the energy front.

A few things caught my eye this week on energy. Two of them concern countries in Europe, and one is a recent break through on fusion research here in the US.

Hoping those living in Europe can fill in some details on these items.

  1. England has announced it’s opening or authorized it’s first new coal mine in 30 years.

  2. Sweden announced support of nuclear energy as a way of dealing with dependence on Russian energy imports.

Then here in the US, researchers at a California university were able to come up with a process of producing electricity via fusion that, for the first time, produces more energy than it consumes.

I guess one of the big obstacles they were facing with fusion was that up to now, fusion reactors used more power to create energy than they actually produced.

Energy needs an “all of the above” approach as far as I am concerned. I’m sure at some point the adults will figure all this out despite the unhinged hysterics from a small but radical few.

To be fair, the real question isn’t whether or not fusion can produce energy, it’s whether it can be done reliably and cheaply enough to matter.

It’s a long way from an instantaneous moment of energy release greater than the energy required to make it happen, to a viable power station.

The talk surrounding the coal mine is cringe worthy because the government has committed to net zero by 2050 and although it’s obvious to anybody with half a brain that they don’t truly believe in any of it, this flies in the face of the official line.

But they say it’s compatible because this mine is due to be decommissioned in 2049. No joke.

It doesn’t make sense looking at individual mines or power stations if you want to know which ways things are trending, or which way they need to trend to achieve lower emissions.

It’s a total system issue.

If we need gas plants that can ramp up quickly to support more variable sources, then so be it.

I think that gas prices are a bigger factor than how much it costs to run gas power stations that don’t run at full capacity all the time.

It’s also worth keeping in mind how quickly the price of battery and other forms of storage are dropping in price.

If solar and wind and gas can keep us going until storage and other fission/fusion/better storage solutions are developed, I don’t see a huge problem with that.

Also, industry is more adaptable that I think it’s commonly give credit for.

Energy supply has never been 100% reliable.

The world isn’t going to collapse if businesses have to shut down for a few weeks a year due to intermittent energy production.

Energy should be nationalised since it’s essential for keeping society running. Then it doesn’t matter if something is built for emergencies, whereas that can’t exist in the ever expanding profit model.

The supply chain is complex and businesses not knowing whether they are coming or going re staffing, ordering, contracts could be an unmitigated disaster, let alone actually closing for an unknown “few weeks a year”. The global south would inevitably take the biggest hit there, as they have done from government coronavirus measures, <insert sanctioned country here> sanctions or whatever other colonial interference ‘we’ instigate.

The world itself won’t implode though.

Two big red flags there. Fusion actually having arrived and producing more energy than consumed.

I thought fusion was a good thing?

Safer than fission and none of the radioactive waste.

Am I missing something?

Here in the US while the utility companies are privately owned, for the most part, they are still very heavily regulated by local and federal governments.

While that may not be nationalized in the traditional sense, it’s pretty damn close.

Yes it is. And the one big thing that never comes up in all of these discussions is the outdated aging electrical grid here in the US.

Regardless of how you create the energy, if you can’t get it to homes and businesses, what have you really accomplished.

While the world might not collapse, it still causes many unintended consequences that could otherwise have been avoided if those in charge had done their jobs instead of resorting to scare tactics.

Once again, an “all of the above” approach matching the best method and technology based on the unique circumstances and requirements of a given area. Not a “one size fits all” approach that just won’t work in some areas.

Fusion having actually arrived is like Linux taking over the desktop. Ever so often someone makes a big fuss about it being here when it really isn’t. Maybe you have heard the expression, “The year of the Linux desktop”.

Oh, I get it.

Sorry if I left the impression that this meant they were going to start building those things. The researchers said that fusion is still a decade or two away, so nothing’s going to happen anytime soon.

Still you have to wonder if it wasn’t for all the scare mongering about nuclear, would we be a lot closer, or even already have fusion reactors? No sense spending a lot of R&D bucks on something you can’t build.

Definitely a complicated and multi faceted issue, requiring serious people sitting down and working out the problems.

But I guess it’s easier just to let things go to shit, declare an emergency, expand your power and control, and convince the people you’re working hard to keep them safe while they sit shivering in the dark.

Fusion has always been a decade away.

True comment