08 Jun Benefits of Fusion: Energy Reliability
The International Energy Agency forecasts that government policies, market conditions and innovation will help to increase the share of low-carbon supplies for electricity. The shares of electricity generated from technologies such as wind, solar and geothermal will rise from 36 per cent today to 52 per cent in 2040. However, fossil fuels will make up the difference and continue to dominate the global energy mix.
Fusion energy will be reliable
Fusion has the unique capability to provide utility-scale energy on-demand wherever it is needed. By extracting energy from the combination of hydrogen isotopes, fusion machines avoid the added infrastructure that fossil or nuclear plants require, such as pipelines or fuel shipments. This presents less opportunity for disruption of its fuel supply. As a result, fusion is an excellent complement for intermittent renewables and battery storage. Together, these technologies make for a practical energy portfolio that mitigates climate change while driving economic prosperity.
Why is energy reliability important?
Electricity powers our homes, businesses and industry to keep them thriving. When energy is unreliable, everything slows down or even stops. In emerging economies, new electricity generation can improve well-being and opportunity.
A balanced energy mix that includes solar, wind and fusion can reduce the frequency and duration of power outages. Reliable power generation enables investment in communities and the industries that create jobs. In addition, everyone benefits knowing the energy they need will be there when they need it.
What type of power is supplied to an electric grid?
As the world seeks to combat climate change, energy providers around the globe are upgrading their infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions. However, adding intermittent sources such as solar and wind will only solve part of the problem. A strong energy system needs both firm power and intermittent power.
- Firm power
Firm power accounts for 84 per cent of all energy consumption as of 20191. Also known as baseload resources, firm resources are constructed to run almost all the time and do not depend on external factors such as the sun or wind.
The most common firm power resources are:
Firm power is primarily fueled by fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal. Power generation accounts for close to 40 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions and more than 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions2.
- Intermittent power
Intermittent power consists of energy sources that are not continuously available due to external factors. Since it generates power intermittently, a utility’s energy grid still requires firm power to serve customers reliably.
The most common intermittent power resources are3:
How can fusion energy help?
Carbon-free firm power holds great opportunity to reduce emissions. With zero emissions and on-demand availability – fusion energy can replace aging infrastructure or electrify new sectors. General Fusion is on track to bring its game-changing Magnetized Target Fusion technology online by the early 2030s.
1Rapier, R. (2020, June 20). EDITORS’ PICK. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2020/06/20/bp-review-new-highs-in-global-energy-consumption-and-carbon-emissions-in-2019/?sh=5d9b7f5866a1
2Mattion, F., & Pavarini, C. (2019, March 8). International Energy Agency. Retrieved from Tracking the decoupling of electricity demand and associated CO2 emissions: https://www.iea.org/commentaries/tracking-the-decoupling-of-electricity-demand-and-associated-co2-emissions
3Hanania, J., Stenhouse, K., & Donev, J. (2020, April 28). Energy Education. Retrieved from Intermittent electricity: https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Intermittent_electricity