Renewables Advocates Trash Talk Nuclear Fusion

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to renewables advocates, renewables will soon be so cheap it won’t be worth pouring more money into researching nuclear fusion.

Renewable Energy Threatens the World’s Biggest Science Project

Inside the $24 billion long bet on fusion power in France.

By Anna Hirtenstein

20 October 2017, 14:01 GMT+10

The world’s biggest scientific experiment is on course to become the most expensive source of surplus power.

Components of the 20 billion-euro ($24 billion) project are already starting to pile up at a construction site in the south of France, where about 800 scientists plan to test whether they can harness the power that makes stars shine. Assembly of the machine will start in May. Unlike traditional nuclear plants that split atoms, the so-called ITER reactor will fuse them together at temperatures 10-times hotter than the Sun — 150 million degrees Celsius (270 million Fahrenheit).

Its startling complexity, with more than a million pieces and sponsors in 35 countries, mean questions remain about over whether the reactor will work or if it can deliver electricity at anything like the cost of more traditional forms of clean energy. With wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense.

“I’m dubious,” said Chris Llewellyn Smith, director of energy research at Oxford University who has spoken in favor of the research project. “The cost of wind and solar has come down so rapidly, so the competition has become harder to beat than you could have conceivably imagined a decade ago.

In the decades it will take to prove itself, renewables are likely to mushroom, thanks to a 62 percent plunge in the cost of solar panels over the past five years. Wind energy has followed similar trends as turbine sizes surged, boosting the spark coming from each unit. Batteries also are spreading, reducing the need for utilities to maintain a constant “baseload” of supply that ITER would feed to the grid.

“The concept of the need for baseload generation is fading away,” said Paolo Frankl, who heads the renewable power division of the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based institution advising nations on energy. “Technically, you could run a system 100 percent on renewables and even 100 percent just wind and solar.”

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On one level its funny – advocates of a power concept which doesn’t deliver reliable energy trash talking a power concept which has never been demonstrated to work.

But the more serious issue is how it highlights the risk of putting the lions share of nuclear fusion research effort into ITER.

ITER in my opinion is in big trouble.

The President of France, the country which hosts the ITER project, is a hardline green – in my opinion it is conceivable he will respond to political pressure from renewables advocates, and make life difficult for ITER.

ITER itself is a multi-decade bureaucracy of a project which may never deliver.

Even if ITER delivers, what does it prove? At best it will demonstrate that it is possible to produce nuclear power from fusion – at some enormous premium to existing baseload power technology.

Time to diversify the nuclear fusion research effort.

271 thoughts on “Renewables Advocates Trash Talk Nuclear Fusion

  1. In my opinion, ITER is too big. The future is in compact energy sources to be installed close to the consumer and thus eliminating expensive power grids. Nuclear fusion has to focus on miniaturization. We need a few serious blackouts to generate public and political attention.

      • Cheap abundant energy would transform billions of lives for the better. Anyone who thinks differently must be some kind of racist. Are the greens racists?

      • While I’m on about the greens … the Non Sequitur from Oct. 20 pretty much nails it with regard to green hypocrisy.

        If the greens actually cared about the poor dumb underprivileged, they would want them to have things like reliable refrigeration.

      • “Our form of energy is so cheep that it is foolhardy to even look elsewhere for better!”
        ….deja vu all over again?

        what is fool hardy is to stop looking, or to put all your investments and livelihood into a “not-ready-for-prime-time-player”.

        Everything will find its niche if left to prove itself.

      • Every time energy became cheaper and more plentiful, pollution went down and the environment recovered. Much of the gains of reduced pollution were offset by increases in human population, but, on a per capita basis, every leap forward on the path to cheaper and more plentiful energy has brought with it a reduction in pollution.

        Digging up coal saved more trees than environmental activists.

        Kerosene replaced whale oil in lamps. Oil derived plastics replaced whale bone in corsets. Carefully refined and blended mineral oil for the purposes of lubricating and cooling machining processes. Big Oil basically allowed whales to remain extant long enough for Greenpeace to get around to saving them.

        Recycling takes energy and only makes sense if the energy to recycle a material is cheaper than the sum of the costs of the feed stock and energy to make that material.

        Half of the reason that the leaders of environmentalism hate nuclear power is that nuclear power can produce energy at a price that would bring about an ecologist’s eutopia, without environmentalism having any influence on society– mining landfills for useful materials and redirecting most waste to recycling streams would be profitable enough for capitalists to do it for no other reason than to make money.

      • “stock October 21, 2017 at 9:37 am
        I suggest we ban commieBob for playing the racist card”

        What is you problem, stock?

        commiebob asked a legitimate question. To which he has yet to receive a legitimate answer.
        The assumption, based on lack of legitimate responses is that the answer to commiebob’s question is a definitive Yes!

        Though that has already been evident by greens dubbing civilians many millions of cash allegedly to “benefit” third world natives. Cash that never makes it to the populations that need it.

        The same greens freak out and pull every trick to deny third worlders’ access to cheap plentiful energy 24/7/52 all year, every year.

      • I am pointing out that playing the “racist card” is defamation when bantered about so stupidly as it is these days. I have been offered to do projects in Ghana by some well connected folks. I decline at this point, its hard work, logistically hard, no extra profit, far away, more risk, poor supply chain.

        Would I like to help? Sure, but it doesn’t make sense for me personally. And that is legitimate.

        Disagree? OK you go, and I will just coach you

        I guess that makes me racist right? USA has no obligation to “pull the rest of the world up” in fact we are going down in economics and lifespan as we speak. Not good.

      • stock October 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        … I am pointing out that playing the “racist card” is defamation when bantered about so stupidly as it is these days.

        The effect is racist. The greens would, of course, be horrified to learn that they are racist.

        How many greens are willing to live in third world conditions? The number is vanishingly small. Yet they, for all practical conditions, want to condemn the third world to continue living in third world conditions. The greens seem to think it’s ok for white folks to sort their garbage, ride bicycles, and use funny light bulbs. If most of the brown and black population of the world could live with such ‘constraints’ they would think they had died and gone to heaven.

        Racism is as racism does.

      • Our form of energy is so cheep that it is foolhardy to even look elsewhere for better!

        If Wind and Solar have truly become “So Cheap” then perhaps it is time to send the RE generators a bill to recover ALL the subsidies they have received to date

      • MarkW, the reason you should not ban stock is because he is a free thinking, MSME U of Michigan, with 2000 solar projects under his belt starting from 1997, and is an expert in the field, also a Certified Energy Manager.

        stock is giving advice to smart people who have a mistaken opinion that solar PV does not make sense.

        Please respond on topic if you dare

    • ITER is comically too expensive. There are a [half] dozen fission projects that have legs. The problem is they compete with legacy commercial obsolete fission reactor design.

      There are cheaper fusion designs that have at least a chance of commercial success.

      The problem is we have completely lost practical honest thoughtful unbiased analysis to make decisions concerning power sources and of course past/present climate change.

      • What are the cheaper fusion designs that have a chance of commercial success, compared to ITER. Give us just one example of another cheaper design which has been proven to work; not that ITER has been proven to work; or ANY other fusion reactor which is NOT powered by Gravitation.

        Nobody has proved that the Coulomb Force (electromagnetism) is even physically capable of doing the job; let alone practically; or even compactly. Whatever it is that is holding the hot fuel together, needs another bottle outside of it holding it together, and the that needs another one outside of it pushing that one together.

        Gravity sucks, so it automatically holds the hot fuel together to make it work. Electro-magnetism just wants to blow everything apart.

        But not only is a gravity plant big, the one we have is too far away, so the W/m^2 at earth orbit is pitifully small, so even if the solar cells were free, the land and structure capable of surviving a 100 year storm every four or five years, don’t come cheaply; so renewables aren’t the answer either.


      • George, of all of the other fusion projects out there I think EMC2’s Bussard fusion reactor has one of the better chances. Theorized and designed by the late Robert Bussard, the various iterations of his electrostatic fusion system have been scaling up just as his math has predicted. The next iteration, the WB9 (or WiffleBall) reactor has the potential to reach equilibrium, assuming Bussard’s calculations hold true.

        Considering Bussard’s reactors have cost a very small fraction of either ITER or the US National Ignition Facility, that’s something worth looking into.

        Will it work? I have no idea. But what does it do to the energy question if it does? What would an almost unlimited supply of cheap energy from a dense source do to change human existence? Would it lead to a post-scarcity society? Would it make it possible for us to spread out into space in a more timely fashion?

        Some folks say renewables are all we need. But what about traveling outside of Earth’s atmosphere where there is no wind and solar is only useful to a certain extent. (Can’t use solar effectively much past Mars’ orbit because it’s too diffuse and would require monster solar arrays that don’t lend themselves to moving very easily if used as the power source for a spacecraft,

    • Take a look at the polywell, conceived by the late Dr. Buzzard, and the Lockheed-Martin CFR. Those are the 2 fusion concepts I see as most likely to lead to practical power generation.

      As for molten salt reactors, those are fission. And an energy tech worth exploring.

    • Sometimes in technology it is harder to build small units than large. The first computer for example was massive by current standards. They have chosen a scale to work on they feel that gives them the best chance to succeed. As they are the ones whose careers depend on results they make that choice ,you just get to pull the plug on funding if they don’t make enough progress.

      • Early computers were big because the components used to build them were big.
        If they had smaller vacuum tubes available, they would have used them and the computer would have been smaller, faster, and use less electricity.
        Most of the time when bigness makes a difference it’s either because of economics (economies vs dis-economies of scale) or thermo-dynamics since the ratio of surface area to mass goes down as size goes up.

      • Where did you get the idea that these people’s careers depend on success ?? Fusion research is just like climate research. You can consume an entire career till retirement, and never achieve anything. Nobody will even know what you spent your time doing. They just need more funding; that’s all that is holding up progress; more funding, and a proof of the physics would help too.



    • ITER is based on Tokamak designs, which “are no damm good”. Bluntly, ITER is a Big Science scam. There are good reasons the U.S. withdrew from that project.

      I’d bet on projects like Polywell and Deep Focus Fusion, which also have the virtue of being a lot cheaper to research. The Reverse Field Configuration also seems like a reasonable bet. Any of these, if successful, would result in generation facilities suitable for a small town on up. As would Molten Salt Reactors, which Oak Ridge actually demonstrated back in the 1970s.

      But the “renewables” energy folks are just envious of the big bucks ITER has been getting, they want that pie for themselves.

      Anyone who thinks there is no need for baseline power should demonstrate that, live and work on 100% wind and solar.

    • Fusion has to focus on break-even. Then we can focus on miniaturization. What the Left really want is an attack on Capitalism, or actually, they are targeting our means to maintain a decent standard of living. Power is derived by creating dependence. They are looking for an excuse to control others, and climate alarmism is the preferred method today. Wind and Solar have huge O&M costs and vast opportunity costs related to land and sea usage. They will never scale to meet the needs of future society.
      The Left can be understood in terms of planning to force 99% of humanity (others) to serve the remaining 1% (them). The stupid part is they are very close to achieving a Star Trek level of technological socialism (without warp drives), but they are wedded to a Little House on the Prairie fantasy in which we all go back to digging for potatoes in the dirt. Mao tried that. As a result, 75 million Chinese died in the Cultural Revolution. Naturally, the Left believe they will be immune from the negative aspects of their counter-revolution.
      The real revolution, providing freedom for much of mankind, was the American Revolution. The Founders and Framers recognized individual rights and established a limited government with the consent of the people for the first time, building on the Magna Carta, English Common Law, and the works of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume for example. The Left have been busy since the French Revolution trying to reverse individual rights building on Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx, et al., to force us into groups with all rights coming from government. Fascism and communism (sisters of the Left), WW II, and various failed socialist/communist states since then, show the folly of these government forms.
      “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”, said Rousseau. The flawed Social Contract puts an elite in control, ruling the poor who are dependent upon the state. The Left seek to restore this proper condition, and assuming they will be among the elite. Lenin described them as “useful idiots”. The Industrial Revolution the other great revolution of mankind freed most creatures from labor, since machines could do the work better. Slavery was no longer needed. Should this Luddite Left be successful, as we de-industrialize, more people will revert to servitude and subjugation. There will be no way around it. Billions would have to die in order to revert back to the state of “noble savage”, dooming the remaining few to live short brutal lives once again.
      Instead, we can allow the unseen hand of the free market organize society. Certainly, some regulations are needed to ensure the rules apply to everyone equally (our concept of the Rule of Law). Currently, burdensome regulations allow government to direct the means of production in a near-fascist economy (see Sowell,, to pick winners and losers, and protect compliant corporations from upstart competition.
      Competition is the key driver creating the benefits of capitalism. The free market creates a reward system for innovation and price reduction that benefits us all. The most competitive and innovative capture market share and receive a reward for their investment. When government interferes with fair competition, the free market cannot exist, and the system is no longer capitalist. The Left continue to blame capitalism for failures of the socialism, which has increasingly displaced capitalism over the past 100 years.
      The Left must not be allowed to define the terms of debate, and should be held to account for their failures. More of their social recipes can only brew more of the same problems we have forced to endure as government control has increased. Today government at all levels controls over 40% of GDP. Could that much power in the hands of bureaucrats perhaps be a problem?

      • I agree! Basic driver for human behaviour is fear, such as fear for future shortages of energy or resources. History is a chain of attempts of the rich to secure their wealth mostly by limiting consumption of others, creation of a class of poor, forbidding new technology, causing stagnation. Climate alarmism is a revolt of the elites, just as the Club of Rome was, or communism . In all cases propaganda mislead the masses.
        Planet saved by the new noble class, population of serfs.

    • David, do you have a plan for miniaturizing the existing fusion power plants that we already have; well we have one of them, but we can see billions of them out there ??

      At present, they do need to be somewhat bigger (mass wise) than a Brown Dwarf.

      Let us know how small you think you can get one that works.


  2. I am still a believer that nuclear fusion will one day provide the energy its advocates have claimed. The Russian Tokamak fusion reactor actually produced energy by fusion, it just consumed more energy than it produced. As the ex-President, etc, of an uranium exploration company I can tell you the energy minerals industry is constantly looking over their shoulder at the advance of fusion technology. Not that “cold Fusion” either. Reminds me of Adrian Cronaur saying “it’s hot, fool! Were you born on the Sun?”

    • “Even if ITER delivers” – delivers what? ITER is not an experimental power plant. It is a conceptual experiment in controlled fusion. Should it succeed in fifty years, real power plants would have to be designed around the concept.

      Nice to know that the energy minerals industry is taking a long-term look. Most companies are only interested in the next financial quarterly report.

      • LIGO and the LHC doesn’t produce anything either yet both have advanced science and settled 100 year old debates so we no longer waste time considering alternatives.

    • Ron: What “advance of fusion technology”?????
      Fusion research has been going on for some 50 years and has yet to show more energy than it consumes.
      It only took a few years to exhibit how to produce fission energy.

      • donB, here is a reasonable review article: Basically the design of magnetic fields to control the plasma and the igniter (lasers for example) are coming into play. The Wendelstein 7X actually looks like a more advanced design than the ITER. If you are a uranium exploration/mining company and you find a uranium deposit with a 30 year production life (after 5 years of permitting/development) and you see an advancement of fusion technology that suggests actual production is possible, you probably want to modify your mine plan (like take out the high-grade first!). Once hydrogen bombs were developed only beginner programs stuck with fission (ok, backpack bombs are fission). Would you rather try to permit and fund a fission energy plant or a deuterium plus tritium fuses to helium fusion plant? Easy to know which.

    • Well I believe you can fire deuterons at a heavy ice target, with just a 600 kV Cockroft-Walton accelerator, and get some sort of fusion energy; and plenty of neutron radiation. But you didn’t release enough fusion energy to even exceed the amplifier noise in your neutron detector.

      So releasing fusion energy is duck soup; but if you don’t get enough and also don’t get a bomb, you haven’t achieved anything.


  3. Good news. Renewable energy industry with its settled science no longer needs taxpayers for anything and can even offer a them break.

    • Not so fast! Article says subsidy free by 2025. In which time of course the wobbly-brained ‘Greens’ will have turned much of the planet into a grotesque alien hellscape in their most earnest efforts to extinguish all multicellular life.

      By then so much will gave been invested in the insanity that reversing direction will appear to be inconceivable.

      • And also they’ll require power providers to buy green energy to some minimum, and pay for it even when not needed. Those are implicit subsidies that aren’t called subsidies. We must remind people to keep their eye on the pea.

  4. “With wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense.”

    This gives rise to two important points. With the availability of subsidy-free power by 2025, it makes no sense to install wind farms now that need subsidies. Better to hold off till 2025, or later when this promise comes to fruition. Meanwhile, we can run the subsidy-free coal and nuclear plants that we know work and can provide reliable power. Though, I am not sure if these “subsidy-free” wind farms include the cost of the back up energy sources for when the wind doesn’t blow, or blows too much. Perhaps Chris Llewellyn Smith or Paolo Frankl can advise on this point?

    The second, compare the fusion project to the Manhattan project. This was enormously costly, and took the expertize of a large number of scientists, and a right stack of materials. But for the war, and the possibility of Germany attaining the atom bomb before the US and UK did, it is doubtful if it would have gone ahead. A similar urgency is now the case, with the war by the greenies on coal and oil power!

    • Wait. You don’t think coal and nuclear are subsidized in the US? What rock in which cave do you reside under?

      • Tax breaks and depreciation are not the same thing as subsidies, unless you believe that all wealth belongs to the government and the government is subsidizing you anytime it lets you keep some. In this cave and under this rock, I believe the exact opposite. All wealth belongs to the people, who are forced to continually subsidize the government.

      • MattN. I agree with JClarke Particularly if the write-offs and depreciations are in the tax code for any business, not special tax breaks for fossil fuels. When you see statements and numbers that seem to show that nuclear and fossil are highly subsidized you need to be careful about what is meant. For nuclear, they will use the Price-Anderson Act to say that without it, insurance would be extremely high and nuclear would not be feasible. But this is not a subsidy where they are given cash and subsidies like wind and solar are. Also, it may have been true when the bill was passed but now with 50 years of power plants in the US, France, Japan, Europe, etc. the insurance rates might not be as prohibitive. Won’t know until a free market is allowed for nuclear. Nuclear is problematic as far as cost but how much is due to unnecessary regulations is not clear. The late Dr. Greg Choppin gave a talk at my university a few years ago and pointed out that if the US allowed reprocessing of nuclear fuel: 1. we would have far less waste to deal with, 2. we could largely stop mining uranium which does have risks for the miners, and 3. since only a small percent of the fuel gets burned the first time through, we would have enough nuclear fuel on hand for many years to come.

        With fossil fuels it is even worse as the “subsidies” they lump in there include the fact that many countries in the Middle East and Venezuela that have oil will let their own citizens have cheaper prices or even free gasoline. This is not the same kind of subsidy at all as most countries don’t do this and don’t need to and fossil fuels are extremely competitive and some are fairly inexpensive. If anything, more regulatory burdens are put on fossil and nuclear which help make them more expensive and some of these can probably be relaxed without any harm to the environment or safety issues.

      • MattN, table your your net subsidy minus taxes numbers per kWh and you’ll find out coal kWh pays a tax that you’d happily waste on random electricity.

      • Billw1984: “If anything, more regulatory burdens are put on fossil and nuclear which help make them more expensive and some of these can probably be relaxed without any harm to the environment or safety issues.”

        It would be interesting to see a full regulatory accounting, given that oil, gas, and nuclear often face resistance whenever and wherever expansion is attempted, whereas liberal politicians (the chief enablers of excessive regulation) are inclined to step back where “green” power projects are involved.

        Compare, for example, the cost to Exxon cleaning up the birds threatened or killed by the Exxon Valdez to the cost to windmill operators for the birds killed by windmills. But then, perhaps windmill operators have seen their costs that I’m unaware of rise due to the need for design changes to protect birds and bats?

      • You, and most other people, seem to forget the substantial royalties collected by federal and state governments on fossil fuel production. I have never heard of a royalty on wind or sunshine. Although I would not be surprised if some government of the future did not see it as another revenue source, it is currently an advantage for wind or solar.

      • MattN I would like to hear about these fossil fuel subsidies the greens bang on about. Everytime I have asked they seem to be talking about company tax write offs which every company including Wind and Solar companies would use. Explain?

    • ,Better to hold off till 2025, or later when this promise comes to fruition.”

      I am fairly certain that process is claimed to be dependent on 8 more years of subsidies to continue to grow the technology. ( To so deeply rob from base load providers that they can then say “see, we are cheaper”)

      • Oh no. Wind will need no subsidy when a wholesale price of electricity rises tenfold. That’s what takes eight years, not a development of new technologies.

    • Of course by 2025 phart and moonbean power will not need subsidy because rip-off carbon taxes will have made reliable electricity generation so expensive the unreliables can charge what they want.

  5. The nonsense about not needing baseload is understandable from folk who don’t have data or can’t handle arithmetic, but it is intensely irritating from folk who ought to know better. There is no way we can store in batteries the 10,000 Gw-hrs needed to keep just the UK going on 10 consecutive cold and windless days in winter. It doesn’t scale. We are adrift by two or three ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE. 30 Gw-hrs is the entire annual output of the Tesla gigafactory.

    • Pumping water uphill is cheaper than using a battery. But it of course triples the price of the electricity. So cheap intermittent energy could be dumped to get some when it is needed.

      Now, how do we get a lot of cheap intermittent energy? Solar and wind are not cheap, just worthless.

      • People are encouraged to install roof PV elements, which is so odd. Why doesn’t the power company install solar elements if they could then sell cheaper energy and keep the difference? Well, because it is no cheaper.

      • Huggs,
        In California the investor owned utilities are forbidden by the CPUC to install rooftop solar systems. The supposed reason is that their resources are so large they could out compete small business solar companies.

      • Pumped storage is a joke and net loss on energy. You have no more places to do large-scale pumped storage, and conversion from solar/wind to kinetic energy to move a mass to potential energy are all stepwise downward losses.

        Thorium. Fusion. The planet would look amazing if we have unlimited, virtually free energy from those two.

      • Hugs you may be right: I don’t know enough about pumped storage to comment but 10000 Gw-hrs feels to me like a lot of flooded land

      • Pumped storage only has losses of about 30% end to end which is better than a Lithium battery. The infrastructure has a life span of a hundred years or more, which is a lot better than a battery, or wind or solar with their lifetime usefulness hardly 20 years, and with solar, degrading in output over time. The right pumped storage configuration would have a fairly high head, hence not requiring as much water to be pumped uphill. It is a one time cost to build and pays for itself by utilizing spot market rates that are low at night, (or wind/solar intermittence) and supplying base load for peaking for the following day. There aren’t a lot of viable sites available over much of the planet close to to demand/supply, so is hard to implement. But it is much better option than a battery where there are suitable sites and should be put on the list of reliable power supplies for the right application. Plus, if in a forested area, would offer gravity fed water to fight forest fires in close proximity such as many cities in valleys surrounded by a higher hills or mountains.

    • And if you were to put all the batteries required for backup on one side of the British island, would it tip over?

      • actually a brilliant question. There has been some mention of Islands being made unstable by not carefully loading weights on them. Not some silly idea, it’s been discussed by members of the US congress no less.
        It begs the question, might islands be made to drift off their spots if too many windmills are stuck up in the wind?

      • Bruce, I like your droll humor. But in fact, Rep. Johnson did bring up the concern in Congress. Most of the discussion after that was muted laughter and snickering.
        Rep. Johnson is an excellent example of the results of scientific education in the US.
        However, I like the vision of sailing an island around the world. I wonder if the Brits would sail theirs a little closer to the equator if they could, and how many sails that would require!

      • Hugs you may be right: I don’t know enough about pumped storage to comment but 10000 Gw-hrs feels to me like a lot of flooded land

      • ,barryjo: I don’t know. We’d all be huddled on the other side so it might balance up. 10000 Gw-hrs of lithium ion batteries would weigh around 10 e11 kg tbat is around a billion tonnes. 60 million people at (say) 50 kg each doesn’t cut it but maybe our cars and house might help

  6. Leaders like Sarah Palin advocated an all of the above approached.

    The Greens have shown how religiously intolerant, narrow minded and into scientism they are.

    After reading about the problems of ITER hear last week, I want diversification of fusion research.

    • When I worked at Naval Research Labs in D.C., that was not a joke. It was the goal. Sabotage in order to achieve that goal was not to be overlooked! I was not a target of such efforts, but i did get to witness the stated and later executed tactics of efforts. Actually quite sad.

  7. What is needed for fusion power is new ideas, not a bureaucracy ridden mega project built on a firm foundation of BS and vain hopes.

    • So who gets to select the projects? So whats your idea we have a popularity contest on them where Joe Public votes? You can see the con artists lining up for the cash now.

      • Venture Capitalists get to select the projects. There are a lot of such projects in the US right now. Look up Tri Alpha Energy, funded by Paul Allen (Microsoft), Goldman Sachs, Wellcome Trust, and Silicon Valley’s NEA and Venrock. Another one is Helion, funded by Peter Thiel (PayPal), as well as Mithril and Capricorn investment groups. General Fusion is another, funded by Jeff Bezos (Amazon). Just a few examples.

      • They are spending there own money not the taxpayers, different kettle of fish. They can do whatever they like with there own money just don’t expect us to bail you out.

  8. Electricity demand is stagnating they say.

    Yet they are blind to the effect a 400 percent increase of energy prices caused by renewables have on demand. People will lower their consumption while business flees.

    And in what planet are solar panels and windmills enciromentally friendly?


  9. Again with the 2 minute hate on “baseload”? Do they also hate all that awful steel and concrete underneath the pretty building facades?

  10. The military know that there are potential benefits to having an electric fleet of vehicles, but only as long as there’s a reliable source of mobile primary generation. Small fusion reactors would be their ideal means to recharge batteries and, thereby cut out the long supply train needed to refuel IC engines. Hopefully, that motivation will lead to investment and innovation in what would be a true game changer in power supply.

      • Sweet Old Bob: No relation between SL1 and a fusion device. Any fusion device (which I doubt, by the way…for a variety of reasons) is not a “critical mass”. As soon as driving forces are relieved, the plasma is put out. NOTHING EQUIVALENT to a “prompt critical” in a “critical pile” Uranium fission device.

      • From reading about it, the SL1 reactor was poorly built…an accident waiting to happen. Meanwhile, a small thorium reactor stayed online for years without incident during that same period. The ITER funds would be better spent on a liquid fueled reactor which does not require pressuring the containment vessel.

        Also, consider what an inviting target military aircraft parked on the ground must be, not to mention concentrations of ammunition and explosive devices.

    • Exactly why the Navy got interested in Polywell. That they still are… there has to have been good progress, or the Navy wouldn’t still be sinking money into it, and keep the results close to their vests.

  11. “Time to diversify the nuclear fusion research effort.”

    An appealing idea. There’s probably a real chance that magnetic containment (Tokamak, et. al.) is genuinely unworkable and can never generate reliable power. What then Kimosabe?

    OTOH, exactly what would one diversify into? The only alternative technology, that I’ve looked into — muon-catalyzed fusion — works, but seems much less likely than magnetic containment ever to reach break-even levels ( ). Are there really overlooked technologies out there to diversify into? Is it really plausible that there are workable approaches to fusion that are being overlooked?

  12. The green blob is afraid ITER might work. After all, following Paul Ehrlich, having cheap and unlimited power is like giving an idiot child a machine gun.

  13. Clearly this guy was once an excellent scientist.
    Chris Llewellyn Smith is currently Director of Energy Research, Oxford University, President of the Council of SESAME (Synchrotron light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), and a Visiting Professor in the Oxford Physics Department.

    He was Director of UKAEA Culham (2003-2008), with responsibility for the UK’s fusion programme and for operation of the Joint European Torus (JET), Provost and President of University College London (1999-2002), Director General of CERN (1994-1998), and Chairman of Oxford Physics (1987-1992).

    After completing his Doctorate in Oxford in 1967, he worked briefly in the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, before spending periods at CERN and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, after which he returned to Oxford in 1974.

    As Director of UKAEA Culham he developed and vigorously promoted the ‘Fast Track’ approach to the development of fusion power, which was officially adopted by the European Commission. During his mandate as Director General of CERN the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was approved and started, and major contributions from Canada, India, Japan, the Russian Federation and the USA were negotiated, and CERN’s flagship Large Electron Positron collider (LEP) was successfully upgraded.

    As a theoretical particle physicist he worked mainly on the quark model and the theories of the strong and electro-weak forces, and how they can be tested experimentally. His contributions include developing ways to demonstrate the “reality” of quarks and gluons (the particles that transmit the string force that holds quarks together) in highly inelastic electron and neutrino scattering experiments, and showing that mathematical consistency requires any theory of the weak interactions to be based on a spontaneously broken gauge theory.

    Such a pity that age has clearly taken its toll.

    • Probably ideology rather than age. Any UK physicist who went to work in the Soviet Nuclear industry during the cold war had pretty far to the left political views. Doesn’t mean he can’t do exceptional pure physics work when politics aren’t involved, but does tend to mean that any “science” position that is demanded by the left will not be looked at as sceptically as other sciences. If one starts from the proposition that man is destroying the planet and must be reined in by extreme measures, one may not see the issues with de-industrailizing the developed world by making energy unreliable and expensive.

  14. ITER stands for “International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor”
    I had to look it up – What is it with people that they insist on using alphabet soup acronyms without ever defining them?

      • You know perfectly well what I mean, I had to look that one up too. No where on a search, at least, did the OP [original post] or the link to ITER define what it was. Undefined acronyms are bad enough in print it’s worse when some snowflake peppers their speech with them.

    • Yeah most hadn’t realized the “I” bit and what they think of it rates at about the same level as what tehy think of the drug laws in Malaysia, or marriage laws in Syria.

    • Steve, ITER is such an expensive scientific project that I thought everyone had heard of it. Rarely on this site do we do things like Great Britain (GB) or United States (US) because if you don’t know those countries initials, you probably don’t have the education to understand the article. This site has a lot of articles on nuclear research, and not a one of them (that I can think of) comes close to the size of ITER. And frankly, while I talk about ITER with my friends, I doubt a one of us would remember exactly and quickly what those initials stand for. Doesn’t matter. It’s that huge nuke power project in France that half the world is invested in, and probably won’t be completed in our lifetimes. (We’re old. Not as old as Willis, but old, you know?)

      BillW1984 – you’re just mean. We could be friends with your wicked sense of humor!

    • I am not only an “advocate” of renewable energy, I’m a user of renewable energy. I use renewable energy because it costs less then fossil fuel.

      Firewood is less expensive than heating oil.

      • Until you burn down your house!

        I heated with wood when I lived in the boon docks. It is very dirty and dangerous.

        The best choice is all electric but I will use propane or natural gas.

      • “Retired Kit P October 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm”

        People still burn their houses down using electrically powered heating.

      • That’s only true if you own the lot where the wood is being grown. Or you are way out in the boonies were everything made elsewhere costs a lot.

  15. “Time to diversify the nuclear fusion research effort.”
    Oh no. Iter is the only project in the world where core fusion has advanced beyond the initial stage. The German project Wendelstein and other American projects have so far dealt only one aspect of core fusion and are not suitable for generating energy in the long term. It is not only the core piece that Iter has to rebuild on a large scale, but the whole around. A steel mill does not only consist of the smelting furnace, just as a coal-fired power station consists only of the furnace. The same is true for fusion power plants. This is as difficult and complex as the actual core area. One must not forget that this is all new territory. To the other claims in the linked articles, that energy from wind and solar is now cheaper than energy from coal and gas, is to say that we here in Germany not yet notice it. There is still the feed-in tariff according to the EEG and tax reductions, which must pay the other consumers and the general population. I do not believe that energy generation by nuclear fusion according to the Iter model is death. In the Karlsruhe Institute of Technologie Magnetic Coils for Iter are developed and manufactured. From my daughter I know how hard their colleagues work there on the problems and what progress they achieve. I consider the timeline to be too strained in terms of progress. But this is also a problem of the bureaucracy, if several otherwise competing countries are working on this century proche. That, of course, renewable energy lobbyists maintain the opposite is understandable from their point of view. Every horse dealer wants to sell his horse even if it has a horse’s foot, which consists in the case of the renewable energy sources of solar and wind in the only temporary energy generation and the lack of storage. Tesla’s wall and basement batteries are also hardly bought here in Germany, since fires of e-bikes and mobiles with lithium-ion batteries have been known. To see his house burst into flames, nobody wants. Not even the most puristic green: For how to erase a burning lithium-ion battery, which produces the necassary oxygen during the fire itself. And the bigger the battery the better.

    • Your response brings to mind the Genome Mapping project that the US embarked upon a few years ago. After years of research, and with the goal in sight, some upstart commercial company completes the whole thing 18 months earlier. Until then, it was assumed only a government had the resources to perform such a task.
      Will probably happen here. Government involves too much waste, ego-boosting, cronyism, etc. to achieve a task efficiently. NASA was one of the few exceptions in getting us to the moon – with qualifications. What have they done since? As a retired aerospace engineer, I can assure you – not much. In fact, now they’re involved with Climate Science (an oxymoron in its current state). Look as NSA. Even they get hacked. Government at it’s… best? Well, at least they meet expectations, as long as you set those expectations low enough.

  16. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “The cost of wind and solar has come down so rapidly, so the competition has become harder to beat than you could have conceivably imagined a decade ago.”

    Aka “SUBSIDIES for wind and solar are so massive, that the competition – coal – has become economically and culturally uncompetitive.”

    BUT, “climate change” aka “global warming” has nothing to do with the environment, rather, control of your life.

    WE can prove this by the slap-down of CO2-free atomic/fusion energy. The ultimate baseload answer to energy security and ending their perceived CO2-induced “global warming” threat.

    THE environmental movement, operating under the tenants of Malthus, despise cheap and abundant energy. For energy drives wealth, prosperity and growth – fundamentals of life that disturb socialists.

    STANFORD University professor, Royal Society ‘Foreign Member’ and population freak, Paul Ehrlich explains this Malthusian bent of the radical environmental movement wonderfully….

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

  17. ‘But the more serious issue is how it highlights the risk of putting the lions share of nuclear fusion research effort into ITER.’


    ‘Time to diversify the nuclear fusion research effort.’

    Man has no need for any nuclear fusion research. We are hundreds of years out from having any actual need for it.

    “Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run, we are all dead.”— John Maynard Keynes

    • That statement by Keynes was just more evidence that he was a politician not a scientist.

      The idea that we should ignore long term consequences just because the short term is beneficial is stupid beyond belief.

      • He was an economist.

        The consequences of the failure to create nuclear fusion as an energy source are CENTURIES out. It has no short term relevance. None.

      • He claimed to be an economist, but he was instead a politician.
        The idea that we should ignore the long term consequences of his proposals because someone else will have to worry about them is something only a true leftist could have come up with.

      • Nice “No true Scotsman” argument.

        “The idea that we should ignore long term consequences”

        Cos economics. Net present value. Spending billions of dollars today on a problem centuries out is your stupid beyond belief.

    • Jamie, you sir, have hit the nail on the head with one almighty blow.

      Wonderfully put. In a nut-shell. Here in GB, if a hostile foreign power had done to our energy and with it our manufacturing sector in one or two years what has been done by politicians on both sides of the commons over many years, starting with the coal-miners’ strikes and continuing to present times it would have meant war. But, thought slow and stealthy it might have been, if one looks at the damage, a war it most certainly was and still is.

      The only trouble is it’s a war that few on our delightfully dotty little island can see.

      We’re the idiots. The ones WITHOUT machine guns.

  18. It has been known since the late 1970’s that fusion is a non-starter. Even if a fusion reactor that produced positive net energy could be built (not done in 40 years of massive investment), the device would be so large that the electricity it produced would be an order of magnitude more expensive than the most expensive fission device. Fusion has no civilian or military uses.

    It should be note that although the following papers are date, there has been literally no progress in fusion research over the last 40 years, and the criticisms are still valid. Fusion research is basically a sinecure for some well-connected bureaucratic “scientists” and their cronies, and it does nothing other than provide them with a comfortable jet-set life style. Truly, one of the greatest scams in history.

    Metz, W. D. 1976. “Fusion Researc (I): What is the Program Buying the Country?,” Science, v. 192, pp. 1320,

    Metz, W. D. 1976. “Fusion Research (II): Detailed Reactor Studies Identify More Problems,” Science, v. 193, pp. 38.

    Metz, W. D. 1976. “Fusion Research (III): New Interest in Fusion-Assisted Breeders,” Science, v. 193, pp. 307.

    Parkins, W. E. 1978. “Engineering Limitations of Fusion Power Plants,” Science, v. 199, pp. 1403.

    Parkins, W. E. 1997. “Insurmountable Engineering Problems Seen as Ruling Out ‘Fusion Power to the People’ in 21st Century,”” Physics Today, Mar. 1997, p. 15.

    • Fusion research is just that: research. Good research is never wasted, since that is how people come up with the “hmm that’s funny” discoveries.

      As for huge, 1) so what, so are fission reactors, and 2) not all fusion plants need be so large. Once we figure out how it works, then we can make it smaller.

      • So you are equating a large fission reactor, which produces power, with a large, experimental, fusion reactor which consumes power?
        You lost me there. The only thing they have in common is that they are large.

      • You are missing the Point John you assume producing power is the important criteria. They are studying fusion which “might” allow building a fusion power generator. Get it they aren’t researching “building a fusion power generator” big difference. As some have already worked there is a big “I” in the name and what you or your particular country do or do not think about it doesn’t matter.

  19. Thank you Eric Worrall.

    You wrote:
    “According to renewables advocates, renewables will soon be so cheap…”

    I share your skepticism with wind and solar power, because of the fatal flaw of intermittency.

    I have not seen any credible evidence that storage systems currently exist that can manage the wide power fluctuations of wind and solar generation and provide cheap, reliable, dispatchable energy to the grid.

    I have seen claims that grid-scale storage can solve the intermittency problem, none of which were supported by credible evidence.

    [Grid-scale electricity storage] = [If frogs had wings, they wouldn’t have to bump around on their asses].

    • I can’t even get my new Wal-mart solar walkway lights to make it through a summer night with the crappy batteries they put in.

      Besides, what’s so “renewable” about devices you have to renew every few years because they fail?

      • Sorry Pop – that is the nature of the “green energy fad – Over-Promise and Under-Deliver.

        Sadly, most green energy is not green and produces little useful energy.

        My only suggestion for your garden lights problem is to move further North, where dark summer nights are shorter – given current energy storage technology, Barrow Alaska should work. 🙂

      • You’ve reminded me to dig out my poem on that:

        If you like your energy sustainable,
        You must first make the climate trainable.
        With sun day and night,
        And the wind always right…
        I think it just might be attainable!

        Solar and wind are renewable,
        But only on small scales prove doable
        They can kill birds and bats
        And displace habitats…
        True ecologists find that eschew-able.

        We would, likely, employ keener vision
        Funding hydro and nuclear fission.
        (The molten salt kind,
        For our peace of mind)
        And solar storm-proofed grids of transmission.

        Affordable energy, for the third world poor
        Will unlock that vital, virtual door
        To an affluent life,
        A job and a wife
        With less children than folks raised before.

        So, curtailing overpopulation
        Is not about “limiting nations
        On what they can do
        Which emits CO2”…
        It relies on industrialization!

      • ALLAN, the problem is that it gets colder as you go further north, and the performance of the batteries in those things goes down dramatically as it gets colder.

    • I guess maybe I could figure it out, but I am still waiting for someone to tell me how much space, land and rooftops are going to be required to replace all fossil fuel power generation. How much wildlife will be killed? How much agricultural land taken out of production? The bottomline regardless of those numbers is that the greens and other on the political left want to kill capitalism once and for all. They know that cheap energy grows capitalism. Kill cheap energy—– That is why they are now selling the idea that renewables are growing cheaper by the day. Please will they tell that to our politicians so we can quit subsidizing it all and help balance our budget.

      • Don’t forget to double or triple the acreage needed for wind and solar so that you have enough extra power to charge all the batteries for those time when the sun isn’t shinning and the wind isn’t blowing.

        • Vacuous, per usual, Google it. We can power everything with existing rooftops, including industry.

          Nay sayers have not done their homework, have an agenda.

      • Great Scott stock! By George I think you’ve got it!

        So now we can cast aside the all subsidies and regulations, escape the clutching claws of socialism and set our economies free! You know, like they do in China!

        Now that sustainable technologies are so cheap and competitive we can just sit back and watch Adam Smith’s invisible hand work it’s wondrous ways and the windmills and solar panels take off! All on their own! (Especially in hurricanes.)

        (Sarc warning!)

  20. Fantasy-, superstition- and myth-predicated political poliices are in the process of destroying the best nation that has ever existed on planet Earth.

    There is a reality and there is just one version of reality. Reality is what reality is. Each truth is what it is. Each truth is a part of the whole truth. The sum of all truths is equal to the one reality.

    Those who have a concern that the Russians or Russia affiliated organizations may have in some way exercised an influence that skewed the 2016 Presidential elections should just stop and take a look at the control and influence that is exerted by our own two worse than worthless political parties.

    • Nancy Reagan believed in astrology, so it goes back a ways.
      Give any system enough time and the aberrants of society will pervert it to their own ends, for power and profit.

      Ben Franklin is credited with this statement in a letter to John Adams-
      “Sir I agree to this constitution with all it’s faults, if they are such, because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered; and I believe further that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, yet can only end in despotism as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”

      • Indeed. People LIKE fascism – a strong, autocratic central government exercising control of the economy. They get pissed occasionally when the government bans 100W bulbs, or top loading washing machines, but never consider that government has no right to exercise any control. The argument becomes, is government banning sugar a good idea or a bad idea. The argument should be, what right does government have to ban sugar.

        Once they have the power to ban anything, they have the power to ban everything.

  21. ITER is not intended to produce a viable power generating plant. It is simply a step along the road to one. Even if it turns out that this approach can never be economically viable, what we learn from it will be invaluable. Fusion power has too much potential to walk away from, especially for space travel and extraterrestrial habitation/exploration. Cheap, reliable baseload electricity is the cornerstone of our modern society. To replace it with expensive, unreliable sources is collective suicide.

    • I don’t think we will learn anything new from ITER. It is just a big tokomak, under the likely false theory that bigger solves the plasma pinch problem. The suns surface shows that to be false.

      • Tell the researchers who develop individual parts of it. You’ll be lynched. Especially in the area of ​​nuclear fusion, so much new is to be learned. Even if the basic principle is understood, the implementation into material comprehensible components is a tremendous research task. To make matters worse, Iter has the problem that there are involved many countries that have different priorities in energy. It may well be that a country (mostly Germany) will develop some of the necessary components in wind ropes, but a different country will slow down in this respect because it has other strategic objectives. I am thinking here of Far Eastern countries. I also think that the development time of nuclear fusion reactors has not been as long and rampant as compared to the gravity of the task. Think about how long it took before the first ideas of researchers developed technologies into serial maturity. Sometimes centuries passed. Even in the case of the vehicles, the end of the flagpole has not yet been reached. All engines and propulsion systems, whether combustion or electric, can still be improved through research.
        But Iter claims to supply cheap energy immediately. Although not yet in industrial scale, but as a model for larger follower reactors. Which can then be built on the basis of the developed components in shorter time periods. This will not condemn mankind either to sober or to inactive creatures, but to take only one concern from it. The first concern which God has imposed upon man after his expulsion from Paradise. Perhaps God sees now the time to mitigate the punishment of the people.
        If you also consider the sums spent globally (also by the US under both Obama and now Trump) for warfare, the current expenditure on Iter is only an insignificant fraction of it. The world does not go down on these issues, but perhaps one day it will become a reality that cheap energy is available for all around the clock. Other developments are here in a dead end, more than core fusion. Shale gas, coal and oil are also finite.

    • Correct Paul its a research project and what people make of it they can go convince politicians in their country to pull out if they are in fact involved. Not all countries are involved in the LHC and what individuals comments on here think about it counts for zero.

  22. The economic problem for renewables is that there is no economy of scale.

    This is particularly problematic for wind. One can see that this technology has already run its course, since when more power is needed, the turbine is not getting smaller, it is not even staying the same size, but rather it is getting bigger and bigger. The individual unit cost is therefore not decreasing.

    When a technology can miniaturise, as in the valve radio, the transistor radio, the IC radio, mobile phones, computers etc, you know that the technology is moving forward, and gains in the efficiency and economy of size can be made thus making the technology ever cheaper. But this is not happening in wind.

    There are fundamental physics that also hamper improvements. First there is little energy in wind, and this inevitably means that the turbines have to be large to extract power. Second, wind shielding where the windward turbine takes the power from the wind before it reaches the leeward turbine. This latter problem means that these units will always have to be well spaced thus involving large areas of land.

    Further, on shore wind has to be located in remote areas, and it is probable that the best sites have already been used. This requires great expense in coupling these units to the grid. off shore wind will be very expensive as any engineer involved in shipping/the off-shore oil and gas industry knows only too well.

    There may be some gains with the efficiency of solar panels, but to date any advances are baby steps.

    Finally there is the problem of the intermittent nature of wind and solar, and the problems and expense caused by its non despatchable nature. These problems can never be overcome, and storage presently is both impracticable and extremely expensive.

    The people make these claims are simply delusional.

    • Progress is increased availability of goods which happens if they become 1. more reliable, 2. cheaper which is also realized by miniaturization. Visit a museum and see the first cameras. Hear churchbells and look at your watch.

    • The people make these claims are simply delusional.

      I’d say at least overly optimistic. Better batteries are always just around the corner.

      I don’t believe that. Look at the starter batteries for car engines. Proven technology, works quite well in cold and hot climates. Progress in the last 50 years? Almost none.

      • There’s a reason why car batteries are still using old technology and haven’t switched to anything newer.
        Auto manufacturers would kill to eliminate a couple of pounds, yet they stick with the older, heavier technologies.

      • Yes. The batteries are reliable, robust and not very dangerous. I guess there won’t be anything better for the next 50 years.

        [???? .mod]

        • lb

          Yes. The batteries are reliable, robust and not very dangerous. I guess there won’t be anything better for the next 50 years.

          Odd. I’m a nuclear engineer. And I fear and distrust lead-acid, NiCd, and Li batteries far more than I do nuclear reactors, radiation, and nuclear bombs. (Nuclear bombs n the hands of North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan I do mistrust, but that is because of the leaders of those countries, not the bombs themselves.

          There are very, very few people in the US capable of maintaining and safely working with batteries.

      • @RACookPE1978
        I was comparing the safety of lead-acid car starter batteries with the safety of Tesla’s batteries.

        Sorry mod, I know it’s off topic and I’ll stop now.

        [No, not off-topic, but phrased so as to be misunderstood, misleading. .mod]

      • With batteries (or for that matter pump storage), one is simply building redundancy into the system since the battery )storage) cannot be charged at the same time as the renewable power is being fed into the grid.

        This means that one is needlessly adding to the expense of the system overall, thereby upping cost and reducing competitiveness. With the use of batteries (or pump storage) it is necessary to build more wind and/or solar than is necessary to meet demand so that there is surplus available energy to charge the battery (run the pumps for the pump storage).

        The article is about renewables becoming competitive with fossil fuel generation, and batteries (or pumped storage) do not render renewables more cost effective, they render them less competitive, although they enable them to provide power for a very short period when the wind is not blowing or the sun not shining.

        About 6 years ago, in the UK they had two winters when there was a blocking high siting over the country for the best part of the month in late december/January. There was all but no wind, and in December and January, the hours of sunlight is few and due to the inclination of the planet solar irradiance also has reduced effectiveness. Batteries (and pump storage) would have been no solution in these conditions.

        I stand by my comment that these people are delusional, not overly optimistic.

      • fusion fission hybrid is likely the way to go. A thorium reactor requires a fast neutron source to keep it fissioning. A Farnsworth Hirsch fusor is useless for producing power but works as a source of fast neutrons. Do any of you particle physicists see some possibilities here?

  23. ITER is a career-long gravy train for those physicists.
    And Not unlike CERN’s LHC, now that Higg’s boson is found, there seems to be little point to continue the experimental aspect without a theory to prove or disprove.

    • Not clear that Higgs Boson was found. There was an equivocal Press release out weeks before Biggs himself died.

      • they know there is little hard work for LHC with Higg’s in the bag.

        You can’t run an ungodly expensive machine like LHC without a clear theory to test. When you are dealing with billions of particle events to sort, there are too many spurious signals to chase (energy ranges to investigate) to gather the 10^-25 probabilities they need for a discovery.

    • Go and convince your country politicians to pull out if they are involved you have no standing to make a comment otherwise. I am consistent with CAGW, LHC, LIGO, ITER and all these big science projects in that the people in those countries spending money should have the choice.

  24. “Big Lies” (the idea is that everyone lies on a small scale but they wouldn’t have the odacity to tell a huge, outrageous lie, let alone repeat it and stick by it. If therefore if you do this, stick to it and tie ‘credible’ events to it, it becomes broadly believed by the gullible masses. It is important it have a small truth embedded in it for the most enduring ones) are a propaganda tool with a history stretching back to Plato (‘the Noble Lie’) and used right up to the present by political, advocacy, ideological, and other large influential groups.

    How often have we seen useful ijits ‘takedown’ sceptics here, not by parrying with rigorous scientific argument, but with the ‘convincing’ admonishment: “So you are saying that the world’s universities, research institutions, the UN, the vast majority of climate researchers, the Nobel Committee, the Pope and 200 governments are engaged in a massive conspiracy pushing CAGW for ulterior purposes.!” Having witnessed it in action with the climate movement, wherein many prominent personalities involved, emboldened by success, have let the cat out of the bag.
    C. Figueres, head of UNFCCC
    M. Strong, creator of UNFCCC and IPCC

    The big lie keeps expanding even though its scientific underpinnings have been on life support for the past ten yrs or so – Alteconomic analysis: ‘Nuclear is not economic and renewables are now competitive with fossil fuels’.’ Batteries will make baseload power unnecessary. Fusion energy is not needed’ (And the way Europe is going about it makes one think they want it to fail). This is a job for Americans to do.

  25. 1. ITER is a science and physics experiment and will not produce power for the grid. It is a small step to fully understanding how to control fusion. It will be followed by DEMO, an actual fusion power plant. To be commercially viable, we must move away from tokomaks and purse a pulsed power fusion approach such as PJMIF (Plasma Jet Magneto Inertial Fusion) and we must master a anuetronic fuel cycle such as P 11B.

    2., renewables as we know them today can and will never be commercially viable because the energy density per collection surface area is far too low. Consider this from the ITER website:

    How Much Fuel Does It Take To Power The World?

    According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the amount of energy supplied by all fuel sources across the world is tremendous: 155,481 teraWatt-hours as of 2014, the latest year on record.
    In order to meet this enormous energy demand in a given year, we need to burn 24 billions tonnes of coal, or 12 billion tonnes of oil, or a bit less of natural gas (10.4 billion tonnes).That’s for fossil fuels.

    If we were to use only conventional nuclear energy to power the world, we would need to consume approximately 7,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel (enriched uranium or mixed oxyde).
    However with nuclear fusion, only 867 tonnes of hydrogen would suffice…

    See complete article at:…/how-much-fuel-does-it-take-to-po…/… or click on image below:

  26. Has anyone really asked themselves why Russia’s atomic energy agency was so interested in and then acquired 20% of the U.S. uranium deposits? Ya’ think maybe it had anything to do with their opinion on the future of nuclear fusion?

  27. ITER is even worse than most people realize. DOE and ITER scientists deliberately misled Congress by stating the COP would be ~10. They used just a fraction of the total power required to come up with this figure. The actual COP will be 1.6 at best, or possibly even negative.

    I know most readers of WUWT don’t believe LENR is real. I think it is. Rossi will be demonstrating his latest E-Cat QX in November and BLP’s Suncell continues to be developed. I forecast there will be commercial units in 2018 or 2019.

    • I think LENR is certainly real. It appears to be difficult to optimize and control. I think Rossi is very close and others are 2-3 years behind. There are also much smaller fusion efforts underway that I believe are conceptually superior to ITER.
      ITER is a giant boondoggle that only a government could love.

    • USA is one of 7 partners in ITER and if the congress believes they were misled then pull out. The facility isn’t even in USA so it makes no practical difference.

      • ITER takes up so much of DOE’s budget there is not enough to sponsor promising wild cards. DOE loves it because it is guaranteed money coming in that they don’t have to work for. It is also lifetime employment for hundred of well paid scientists and engineers.

    • What a black swan a LENR-based commercial unit would be! Fingers crossed! (But not for Rossi’s version.)

    • Interesting that now I get three positive comments. Last time I was shouted down. I wonder what has changed.
      For those that don’t know, Fleischmann and Pons’ original experiment has been replicated more than a hundred times. It is mow understood why the early efforts by MIT & Cal-tech failed.

      • There is an argument over whether the early MIT experiments failed. Eugene Mallove, the MIT technical editor quit his job because he thought the experiments succeeded but the results were hidden.

        • compare vacuum tubes and transistors: the electric fields in transistors are much higher than in the tubes due to miniaturization. By miniaturization it must be possible to integrate thousands of lasers on a chip that locally ignite fusion processes. By intuition I expect great innovations from an integration of semiconductor and nuclear technology.

    • The arrival of commercial LENR will make the renewable energy industry (solar and wind) peter out. I expect the price of solar will drop as there have been large investments in production of solar and they want to operate for some years to get some money back.

      It will take many years for LENR to become widespread, but it will eliminate most fossil fuel powered things in 1 – 2 decades.

  28. A solar panel over 20 years produces almost the same amount of energy it took to build the panel.

    All the solar panels in the world have in total produced less energy than it took in total to build them.

    Fossil fuels in contrast have provided about 10 times the energy it took to produce them.

    No energy source can ever be practical unless it produces considerably more energy than it took to build.

      • So stock, you are still claiming it takes no energy to do any of the things I list above?
        Or are you just desperate to change the subject to how stupid you are?

      • LOL MarkW, you are pretending that I made a claim that I did not make. Shame on you. Yes those installation activities require some energy. Most solar projects that I completed in 1 day produced enough power to fuel my F150 FX4 for the entire lifetime of the vehicle, vanishingly small compared to the 10000 days or so of system life.

    • Don’t forget the toxic waste disposal ‘elephant in the room’ from the manufacturing of these trillions of short-lived devices over the next century.

    • Pop, it is MarkW who aspires to be daffy duck with the absurdity of that solar bashing lie that has been debunked for like 5 years. A few years back, it took .6 years of energy to create the solar cell, compared to its 30 to 35 year life.

      I am an expert in solar thermal and electric. I get sick of hearing stupid stuff.

      And 30 to 35 years is not “short lived”. Simply pot shots that do nothing to further the conversation.

      • stock:
        A solar cell generates partial rated power only 6 hours per day.
        Rated power only 1 hour per day.
        With conversion and control losses, transmission losses, battery chemical storage losses, battery chemical generation losses, and reconversion losses, you need 5-1/2 to 6 times the number of solar cells generating power to run a single load for 24 hours. (You must install 550 to 600 watts of solar cells to run a 100 watt load. PLus purchase 600-800 watt-hrs of batteries and converters and chargers rated for the maximum current, not the steady-state running current.)

        So, your obsession with solar means you immediately force people to buy 6x the number of cells as their rated load. Assuming clear skies, no degregation due to dirt, solar heating, or burned out cells. And NO stored power for a 2-3 days of rainy weather, snow, or haze. Now, solar cells lose capacity immediately on exposure, then lose more capacity slowly over their real lives – 7 -12 years. No cells that I know of are guaranteed 30 year life. (Or flipping that, you provide the rated guaranteed power at 30 years, then we’ll use that to purchase 6x the capacity. )

      • Thats the stupid meme that you must disconnect from the grid. You simply size the system by system watts time “sunhours”. No other fancy calculations needed. No scary looking factors.

        The war on solar uses a component of encouraging / requiring people to unhook from the grid. Which is silly, because lead acid batteries (and pretty much all the rest at this time) cost about $.40 per kwH for the battery cost compared to the useful energy output over the life of the batteries (based on a 50% drawdown)

        So that a big no go, even in Hawaii

        Solar owners provide energy to the grid when it needs it the most, and put load on the grid when the grid needs it the most.

        Greenies who preach the beauty of batteries simply do not know what they speak of. I do battery projects ONLY for those who want the backup power or the future ability to whip the bird to the utility.

      • all solar panel warranties are 25 years. Sheesh.
        And I have worked on old school systems already over 30 years, and done many systems myself that are now over 10 years.

        19,000 panels installed over that timeframe, 3 panel failures (hundreds of microinverter failures)

        Why insist on spouting non-sense, you might as well be a liberal.

      • Poor little stock, he really hopes that nobody investigates the lies he tells.
        His 0.6 years was only for the cell itself (and it wasn’t an accurate claim in the first place.) it didn’t cover any of the other things needed to turn that tiny chip of silicon into a usable product.

      • stock, so we can make up for the fact that a solar cell can’t produce enough power over it’s useful life to cover the cost of making the solar system, by making more of them.
        And to think, you call other people dumb.

        PS: Read the fine print on that 25 year warranty, it doesn’t say what you think it says.

      • C Paul thanks for chiming in to show the vacuousness of MarkW, even 2 years including the BOS (balance of system) seems high to me, but that should dispense the “argument”.


  29. TPES 2015
    Renewable 13.5% of global enery. Sounds good doesn’t it.? But wait.
    Hydro = 2.5%
    Biofuels (scam) and burning waste = 9.4%
    Solar wind = 0.7%
    GeoT and Tide = 0.8%

    The claims about wind and solar, are nothing but complete and utter lies

    • I think there’s not much growth potential:
      Hydro: Greens are opposing new dams and reservoirs.
      Biofuels: You can’t burn the wood faster than it grows.
      Wind: The best places already taken?
      Solar: Not many success stories so far, see Ivanpah.
      GeoT and Tide: Maybe some potential?

      • Ivanpah, is a terrible example. There are millions of successful installation that have already more than paid for themselves. I have done thousands.

        Not excited about geo and tide, making stuff work in salt water and through storm and tsunamis looks like economic wishful thinking.

      • The only reason why they have paid for themselves is that 90% of construction costs are covered by the government, and the government mandates that all energy generated has to be bought, and at above market rates.

  30. So as we can see, the biggest contributor to renewable BY FAR is burning wood\other and garbage

    So when someone says renewable, point out 75% ish of renewable is burning rubbish and wood

  31. and of course when they talk of cost, they dont factor in what tax payers and energy bill payers put it before they get a joule

  32. “The concept of the need for baseload generation is fading away,” said Paolo Frankl, who heads the renewable power division of the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based institution advising nations on energy. “Technically, you could run a system 100 percent on renewables and even 100 percent just wind and solar.”

    If this were true, it would be good news for everyone – although a lot of good land would have to be sacrificed.

    Of course it’s not, and a lot of suffering will be caused as the zealots find this out the hard way.

    • Fusion power has and continues to be “just 2 decades away.” That’s the problem. At some point Charlie Brown is going to tire of Lucy and her football ploy.

      • Continuous fusion has been hampered by the completely bunk solar model.

        it has been 2 decades away since the 60s because the solar model is bunk

      • In the early 70s, my fave science rags promised that practical flying cars were at most 2-3 decades away, along with nuclear fusion & televisions “lightweight & flat, to be hung on walls like paintings”.
        Oh, well….we eventually got 1 out of the 3 so that’s something

    • Plasma instabilities release more energy than we need to put in to create them.
      Fusion requires plasma and very intense electrical fields and about 5000c to 6000c temps.

      The problem for us is controlling the plasma and generating immensely powerful electrical fields.

      Should we master this, this process creates atoms by arranging the components. We see them blown off in the solar wind, they are created by actions on the solar surface. Electrons Neutons and protons are arranged to create them. All provided by solar matter and plasma. (the sun is not gaseous if you see the images from the Swedish telescope)

      2 wins in 2017, Dark Matter not found by CERN because it does not exist. Study uses black holes to slap establishment science in the face with their own glove, model shows black holes hold all of the missing matter. (though no one has ever shown any matter is actually missing :D) and tho I don’t buy black holes (neither did Einstein) something is in those locations, as of yet, undiscovered.

      Wave particaly duality is finished too in 2017
      Striped band interference in results = Strong light coherence
      No bands, weak light coherence
      ie laser = coherent light, sunlight = incoherent light

      The filters used in dual split experiments to detect which slot the particle passed through caused light to be incoherent by causing electrons to undergo inelastic scattering, which lowered the coherence of light and so no interference bands appeared in observations.

      Wave particle duality is fundamental to quantum mechanics, another bunk field, that has lost two foundational pillars, Planck’s law (which planck warned not to misinterpret) which incorporates Kirchhoff’s now invalidated law of thermal emission, namely black body radiation spectrum and thermal equilibrium in a cavity. Invalidated in the lab and in thought experiment.

      Wave particle duality was just bad logic and even worse philisophy.

      but I digress. I am just sick of bad science, which is largely what astronomy is made of

      • I must agree.

        All this effort to emulate the power of the SUN. The sun cannot be a fusion reactor. In fact we have never demonstrated that it is a functioning fusion reactor. We have only held the belief that it must be so,
        Just as the world is getting hotter due to greenhouse gasses. In fact we have never demonstrated that any gas can generate heat – and we can never do so.
        Yet we pursue both of these fictitious goals with taxpayer dollars, without factual proof. Neither of these dream goals can ever be achieved.

  33. I visited the JET at Culham in Oxfordshire over 25 years ago. It was the most fascinating and interesting visit to a technical facility I have ever been on.
    From memory the salient points were that it would use lithium for a fuel blanket(which may be extracted from sea water).
    The waste product after the process had generated the extremely high temperature was Tritium which has a half life of 12 years.
    The structure of the taurus would be the only part that would become radioactive and in the event of a catastrophic failure the building would collapse onto the taurus and the only escaping radioactivity would be a very small amount of plasma. At that time a ball of berylium had been vaporised inside the toroid to coat the inner walls and prevent pollution of the cavity during excitation.
    I am sure that if fusion generated power becomes a reality it would allow many more peoples to have a reliable and clean energy source.

  34. When/if fusion gets up running, how will they extract the heat from the 150 million degrees Celsius (270 million Fahrenheit temperature quoted above?

    That quite a high temperature to be close to a heat exchanger.

    • Put solar panels up 93,000,000 miles away.

      Didn’t Al Gore say that the earth temp is millions of degrees 1 kilometer down? Sounds like fusion to me!

      • Hehe yes he did. You would only need the panels that far away if it was the size of the sun. Remember the energy density is the energy radiated divided by the surface area of the volume of the sphere (assuming a 3D emission). 150 Million degrees is a temperature it doesn’t tell you how much energy is being released and for example the LHC will generate temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the heart of the Sun but its a microscopic but mind you best estimate is it would burn a hole thru your hand if you put it there. They did a funny article about what would happen if you put your hand in the beam

    • The ST40 is an experiment that will only operate for seconds. In the end it is not the temperature per se that is a problem since the plasma is floating in a vacum chamber but the energy it radiates. The temperature is high but the plasma is not a lot of materia.

  35. ITER is a something of the expensive scientific/engineering experiment. It really doesn’t get us to actually making electricity in any useful amount. It’s insanely complex using insanely rare materials in insane conditions. It’s not even energy out/in ratio, it will have to be a multiple of this as efficiency of getting from heat energy to electricity is somewhere between 30-40%. It’s so very difficult that making it into a viable commercial project isn’t something rational. But learning how mater behaves and how things can be done has many applications beyond nuclear fusion power plants. We should seriously be spending a lot more on it, it’s only a few billion a year and why it’s taking an insane amount of time to complete.

    • Europe’s total share is 46 percent I don’t know how much it is broken down to each country in Eurpoe. USA, South Korea, China, India, Japan and Russia each contribute 9 percent or there about.

  36. With . . . electricity demand stagnating

    Who is the author kidding?? A full third of the humans on the planet have no access to electricity. Perhaps if you asked those without any what kind of electricity they want, you’d get a different answer to the question of demand.

    I await with bated breath for BOTH commercial fusion and liquid-salt thorium reactors. Get rid of the bird and bat dicers, and those ugly pilot-blinding solar panels as well.

      • I remember years ago toys being sold batteries not included, and if you had rechargeables, you had to wait 8hrs before you could use the toy. Christmas was really boring sometimes once the wrapper came off the box.

      • solar may be a good option for remote rural villages, they can’t power a modern society. MSR technology (small powerfull reactors) eliminate costly grids, saving nature to the maximum.

  37. I’m confused about the claim that the cost of solar panels has decreased 62% over the last 5 years. when I lived in central Florida my house was north facing with a broad area of the roof ideally facing south. In 2013 I explored the idea of getting a 5KW (or even 10KW) solar panel system for my house. The cost of a 5KW system was ~$14K.

    I just checked and the cost of a 5KW system is …. ~14K.

    • Don’t be, China’s prolific production of solar panels is killing EU manufacturers. The Chinese have millions sitting in containers.

      Obviously the US is protected from this somehow, preventing Chinese panels being flooded into the US?

      You’d be better off hooking a mountain bike up to a battery and doing 40k a day 😀

    • About 5 years ago I would buy a quality 230W panel for like $330, Now I get get 300W for around $220
      1.32 $/W compared to
      .73 $/W

      not quite in half.

      I have also seen cheap panels as low as .25 $/W

      Keep in mind Florida Power and Light (Next Era) is about as corrupt as they get, and their war on solar is being successful at increasing the costs of doing projects.

      • Well, I have no doubt about FPL, but, I moved from Florida to North Carolina and the latter quote was for 5KW in NC.

      • Not a complete comparison. The %.73 is for good quality panels, but the contractor quoted installation cost includes inverters, wirig, and labor costs. Plus, the contractors may have included wildly different local subsidies.

  38. From Robert Hirsch, former head of DoE Fusion efforts.

    “In light of what has been learned from tokamaks, other plasma-physics research, engineering studies, and the application of the EPRI criteria, moving to a much cleaner fusion reaction would seem appropriate. Of particular interest is the proton and boron-11 reaction, which involves significantly more challenging physics but produces no neutrons directly. The absence of neutrons would largely eliminate the risks due to radioactivity and thereby dramatically enhance economics, regulatory simplicity, and public acceptance. ”

    “Thankfully, a few privately funded projects in the US and elsewhere are pursuing p–11B and other concepts. Although more difficult from a physics standpoint, those concepts do not appear impossible, and such systems might stand a chance of being sufficient.
    The ITER-tokamak approach fails against the EPRI criteria. However, concepts based on different fusion fuels might succeed. An objective engineering review is urgently needed to verify the insufficiencies of ITER-like tokamaks. A dramatic reorganization of fusion research and a better-focused research program could result in power plants that will be sufficient.”

    The key sentence:
    “Thankfully, a few privately funded projects in the US and elsewhere are pursuing p–11B and other concepts.”

    That effort is being led by LPPFusion that has made remarkable progress with a Dense Plasma Focus approach and already reached two of the three criteria for net fusion energy. They are rapidly closing in on the third criterion, plasma density.


  39. “I’m dubious,” said Chris Llewellyn Smith, director of energy research at Oxford University who has spoken in favor of the research project. “The cost of wind and solar has come down so rapidly, so the competition has become harder to beat than you could have conceivably imagined a decade ago.”

    Am I the only one that is tired of the propaganda that is coming out of the Universities from people who never created a useful BTU in their life and have no understanding of the real world yet make these outrageous claims just to appease the green politicians and continue to collect their excessive pay.
    No body in the real world believes that the total erected cost of wind and Solar have much room to come down given the enormous cost of land , construction and the cement and steel required to install the equipment often in remote areas and get the energy to a place where it can be used. Are they considering the cost of the batteries given the fact that the sun does not shine in the night and windmills don’t produce with too little or too much wind.
    And what will be the cost when China has put every one else out of business and has the stranglehold on us like the Arabs had on western society until the unfettered free market began to produce sufficient oil and gas to essentially achieve energy independence from foreign dictators.
    Have these people no grasp of history either?

  40. “With wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025”

    Okay everyone place your bets!! Which will happen first? Fusion goes online or wind farms become subsidy free?? Hmmm, it’s a tough one 🙂

  41. So producing “sod all becomes cheaper” or so they say. But then we have to accept so many “so they say” arguments from the renewables gang devoid of any data or technical support. How cheap without subsidies will these PART TIME wonder sources of energy be exactly? Cheap nothing is still nothing. Funny…… considering all this price drop propaganda talk that electricity prices continue rising and rising and rising…..strange do you not think?
    Wind mills have reached the limit of their development. They can be only SO big then physics takes over. Some crackpot greenologist wrote an article in the mainstream press about putting them in the middle of the Atlantic! Over the spreading ridge I suppose! (You try getting the mainstream press to publish anything scientific and data based which challenges the Gore-on paradigm). And how then do you transmit that power over such distances? The lack of critical thinking and scientific credibility in a lot of the greeny ideas which seem to take on wings all by themselves with physics left way behind beggars belief…. who needs reality when you are producing opium for the masses of dumb fools being turned out of schools on both sides of the Atlantic force fed this alchemy under the guise of credible or proven science…”because I say so” tells the political indoctrinator, sorry excuse my slip, EDUCATOR. We are living in some kind of Ceaușescu/Stalinist/Mauist Orwellian nightmare where toeing the politically correct line is seen as the only way to live ….”Since when did this stop being a democracy”??????
    It is about time to bring wind turbines down to earth. I will not waste a nano second of my time on those stupid voltaic cells I see deluded people spending their life saving covering their roofs with! Each wind turbine should be rated output wise in terms of Gas Powered Fire Station units. Of course a gas powered power station is 1 what fraction of that do we assign to even the biggest and part time windmill toy? It MUST be done… just like the energy rating on your fridge or washing machine. I would invite anyone who has done a similar calculation to put wind power in perspective on a power to power perspective. We can then deal with the obscenity of the subsidies later! Ok, my time is up. Back into my straight jacket and into the rubber room.

  42. You will of course excuse the slip regarding Gas Powered Fire Station Units where it should have said “Gas Fired Power Station Units” GFPSUs ! Ooops!

  43. Renewables are not going to get any cheaper. As with all technologies, they have been getting cheaper over time , but like all technologies they have reached the limit. Remember when a LED TV was £1,000? Now they are £250 or less, but they are not going to get any cheaper because there is nowhere left to go in savings on production costs. I’m pretty sure both wind and solar power have hit that point too.

  44. I’m not into renewable energy at all…and I trash talk ‘fusion’…well I don’t need to because its consistent failure to make even the slightest progress since the dawn of the nuclear age speaks amply for itself!

  45. ITER is not a project to make fusion work. It is a project to get sure that no nation gets fusion before other, because it would mean a huge economical and hence military edge.
    Nations are ready to put huge money in this sort of “let’s keep an eye on each other” project.

  46. “The concept of the need for baseload generation is fading away,”

    I didn’t know that the global economy was failing in a way that will make the whole world dark like N Korea.
    Although, unless the CAGW religion can be overcome, that will be our future.

    There can be no doubt that fusion is the future of energy production. The green blob doesn’t seem to realize that ‘renewables’ are driven by fusion and bringing that fusion closer to where the energy is needed will inevitably make that energy cheaper.

  47. Do I understand from the article that all subsidies for wind and solar power can end by 2025? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  48. It is impossible to believe those that claim the Earth is in mortal danger from carbon dioxide when they reject nuclear which produces zero CO2, hydroelectric projects again with zero CO2 production and natural gas which has cut CO2 production by 10% in less than 10 years. When only the highest cost least efficient power generation is insisted upon it can only be because a solution to the problem put forward is not wanted. Protection and propagation of the problem is the goal, solving it eliminates the ‘problem’ and political army that rely on it for their very existence.

  49. Of course the wind/solar scammers want an end to fusion research. The possibility of unlimited inexpensive clean power is their worst nightmare. No more enslaving the poor rate payers, no CO2 producing excuses to reduce the standard of living. Worst yet, all the poor people in the world having the american upper middle class standard of living as the base line.

    • True. It’s not about the environment but about power. Our freedom is at stake. Solar and wind energy is a rational choice if the purpose is to create a new class of poor. Smart grids will regulate power (freedom) of the serfs. The greens will be the new noble class. We witness a revolt of the elites.

        • this solar power does not energize industry (steel, concrete, chemical…) and industry is the root of our prosperity. Don’t fool yourself. Question: “where does your power come from at night, at cloudy days”? To serve a household for 1 week requires 100000 investment in batteries.

    • Solar can certainly power industry, there is no difference between solar generated electricity and classic “thermal”.

      On the battery meme, 2 points— the only way to properly execute solar PV is by staying connected to a diverse grid.

      About 8 AGM leadd acid batteries will take care of a conservative house for a day (plus whatever was generated and used during the day is a bonus), about $250 each, so 2000. times 7 days $14,000

      Your $100,000 figure is absurd, just a lie to pot shot against solar.

      • Well thats an interesting thought, please clarify it’s relevance.

        Seems like the comparison to make would be in relation to other possible energy sources.

        Lead Acid used in off grid daily use and a 50% draw down, assume 5 year battery life. Smaller draw down, longer life. Lithium and “Aquion” deeper drawdowns and longer life, and MUCH higher cost, like 10 times higher.

  50. 62% fall in the price of solar panels over 5 years sounds great but if you have a solar FIT system like I do you know the arithmetic. They’re around 16% efficient at turning the sun’s energy into electricity so imagine their Green nirvana that could magically make such systems 100% efficient and what do you get? Every 1 kilowatt system becomes a 6 kilowatt system but all that does is magnify the variability by a factor of 6 because 6 times nothing at night is still nothing and your storage problem for despatchability is still the same.

    Storage is the really big cahuna here and why these numpties keep avoiding installing and paying for it while they leech off thermal generators. We just had the Darwin to Adelaide Solar Challenge here in Oz and it’s obvious they still haven’t worked out how to stick sunlight in a petrol tank. Perhaps try stuffing some wind in the tank instead chaps.

    • Someday, storage will be essential, but what was learned in Hawaii, is that even at 30% solar PV penetration, the grid can handle it, diversity makes things work out. On larger mainland grids, the diversity will work even better.

      yes, we should be developing storage, for some future 10 to 30 years down the road when it will be needed.

      Solar provides power to the grid when it needs it the most, and solar owners put load on the grid when the grid needs it the most.

      Please respond to that, it doesn’t look like leeching to me.

      • [solar owners put load on the grid when the grid needs it the most]
        Our prosperity is the result of industry (steel, concrete, chemical, ceramics…) So, the real transition is powering steel mills by solar or wind, which will never work.

      • David, you simply need to power the grid, diversity smooths lots of stuff out, but the PV/conventional blend of generation is not any fundamentally different type of grid. Load following is necessary now, and storage will be necessary pretty far down the road. We don’t need the storage “cost” now, but research should develop better and more cost effective technologies

  51. Commiebob says –

    “The greens seem to think it’s ok for white folks to sort their garbage, ride bicycles, and use funny light bulbs. If most of the brown and black population of the world could live with such ‘constraints’ they would think they had died and gone to heaven.

    Racism is as racism does.”

    Sorry CB, us “white folks” aren’t, apparently, the only “racists” in this comment stream. I am so tired of the hackneyed comments about white racism. Racism is everywhere you look, especially in those that see racism everywhere. “White folk” seem to always be the ones that get fingered, however. Please remember that those that would hold the third world down are “elite.” Elite are not just “white,” they come in every color. Most “white folk” would just as soon see everyone else have what they have since then no one would feel the need to steal theirs. Thought I would throw that in so you could have something to bite on.

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