On September 27, the German parliament held a public hearing on “Strengthening fusion research at a world-class level” in Berlin, with participation by Germany-based FIA members Focused Energy and Proxima Fusion.
The hearing outlined key findings to inform channels for German fusion acceleration:
- The first fusion power plant won’t be developed by research institutes, but by private companies.
- Fusion commercialization offers spill-over benefits into other commercial areas, such as high temperature superconductors and laser technology.
- The German government should develop legal frameworks to support development, as well as mobilize capital for direct public investments and leverage public-private partnerships and private capital.
- Government should align efforts to incentivize German fusion start-ups to stay in Germany.
The forward-looking hearing signifies the latest step in recent efforts driving fusion commercialization in the country.
Earlier in September, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger announced that the Federal Research Ministry will invest “a total of over one billion euros” in fusion research over the next five years. The Minister cites the need for a “‘fusion ecosystem with industry’ so that a fusion power plant can become a reality in Germany as quickly as possible.” Her sentiment is that it’s no longer a question of whether fusion will reach commercialization, but whether Germany will be included. To fully realize this vision, though, we should encourage the German government to invest further in the commercialization of fusion, not just into public programs at national laboratories.
This activity follows a federal position paper released in June on a “strategic reorientation of national fusion research and for the path to a first power plant,” which will focus on supporting the private sector and creating a fusion ecosystem. The FIA supports the growth of public-private partnerships and increasing government funding to accelerate the development of commercial fusion power at scale, and stands ready to support as program elements develop.
You can watch the hearing in full here, or below.