The Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP) published an Interim Panel Report, Harnessing the New Geometry of Innovation, laying out actions for the U.S. to strategically position itself as a long-term leader of fusion energy acceleration and commercialization. The report is the fourth interim panel report using the work collected by the SCSP over the past year, summarized in their Mid-Decade Challenges to National Competitiveness Report, in which fusion is noted as a key innovative technology.
SCSP outlines From the Lab to the Grid: An Action Plan for U.S. Advantage in Fusion Energy, citing core elements to achieve global leadership:
- Get Fusion On the Grid by 2030
- Empower DOE with a Commercial Fusion Mission
- Leverage Actors’ Core Strengths
- Add Government Fuel Where it Will Accelerate Commercialization
- Determine a Basic Regulatory Framework Within the Next Year
- Balance Information Sharing and Intellectual Property Protection
- Bolster the Fusion Supply Chain
- Foster a Broad Base of Fusion Talent
The report heavily underscores the importance of the U.S. public sector aligning with the private sector’s efforts in order to be a lasting global leader in fusion energy commercialization.
“With the might of the private sector, the United States can win the race for commercial fusion. A coordinated effort by the U.S. Government to fund, implement, and empower commercial fusion will unleash a new industry – centered in America – that addresses key climate and geopolitical challenges.”
Other nations have recognized and capitalized on fusion’s importance, strategically positioning themselves for “the race ahead”. The United Kingdom has defined fusion as a critical component of its Ten Point Plan for a Green Industry Revolution, regulates fusion through a risk-informed framework, chose a location for a national pilot plant, and continues to attract foreign companies to build in the nation. China has also advanced. The PRC has plans for a fusion pilot plant and is replicating the technological approaches taken by the U.S. private sector. Critically, “even if not the first to achieve a breakthrough, China’s ecosystem would likely be able to rapidly catch up and scale fusion technology – as it did with solar photovoltaics a decade ago.”
It is vital for the U.S. government to act now and match the private sector’s effort and investment into fusion advancement. Although public funding for fusion energy has long been included in U.S. government R&D budgets, the private sector is “driving the field forward and shrinking the projected timelines for commercialized fusion.”
“The United States may have an edge in fusion today, but sustained public-private efforts will be required to make that lead enduring.”
Here is the full report, embedded below. Although fusion is mentioned broadly throughout, the Fusion Action Plan starts on Page 103.