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Columbia Energy Tech Revolution Forum — Fusion: No Longer Thirty Years Away

Past Event

October 12, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm utc

The Center on Global Energy Policy presents the Columbia Energy Technology Revolution Forum, a new webinar series hosted by Paul Dabbar, CGEP Distinguished Visiting Fellow and former Under Secretary for Science at the U.S. Department of Energy. The series focuses on frank, practical, scientific and technological discussions on the prospects of new technologies in the energy world. Each session brings together experts to focus on a different energy technology.

Energy technologies in the last twenty years have advanced significantly, and much of what is currently being deployed, including now-prevalent technologies such as solar, wind, batteries, and advanced drilling, was not commercially available in the not-so-distant past. In the last 10-15 years, public and private R&D has significantly advanced a long list of new technologies that are now competitive without government incentives.

Much of the current dialogue from energy policy makers focuses on existing technologies; this forum instead addresses what is next in new and emerging technologies. The forum helps inform the audience of the state of various technologies, their prospects to make further contributions to the energy mix, and how these technologies should be further invested in, from basic discovery through deployment.

The first session featured Sir Steven Cowley, Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 17 National Labs, and the lead lab in the area of fusion energy. He was joined by Dr. Robert Mumgaard, CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a spin out of MIT looking to have a net-out fusion plant before the end of the decade.

This discussion focused on the state of fusion technologies, how fast until we get to a net-out containment, and energy policies to drive from net-out containment to commercial fusion plants.