The world needs power, and it needs a lot of it. From powering heating and air conditioning to charging phones and cars, or just keeping the lights on, industrialized nations depend on consistent supplies of electricity to conduct business and run their civilizations on a daily basis. Even in countries or regions where the power is only on part of the time, electricity is still highly valuable to security, safety, and the quality of life.
Much of this power generation is done by burning fossil fuels, be it oil or diesel, and solar panels NYC. A lot is generated from coal-fired plants, and there is growing interest in natural gas, which is not as polluting as the other but still contributes to environmental degradation.
A lot of interest has grown in alternative forms of power generation. A lot of that is driven by environmental awareness, as many populations are starting to accept the fact that energy production and pollution are not great for the Earth. Even those who do not readily accept the idea of global warming or climate change can still be concerned by poisons and pollutants dirtying the air, water, and soil of the world everyone breathes, drinks, and eats food from.
In some cases, the desire for alternate energy production stems from national security interests. Oil-importing nations might not want to be held economically hostage by fluctuations or turbulence in the Middle East or Venezuela, and countries of central or eastern Europe are sometimes unable to stand up to Russia politically because they need natural gas to stay warm through the winter.
That turns eyes towards power generation sources like solar, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, and the wind. Some are ‘green’ sources of energy, or renewable, but not all are practical. The Wind, hydro, and geothermal all have serious geographic limitations, leaving nuclear and solar as the two primary alternate options.
As government leaders try and plan out their nation’s energy future, they try to choose which will be better, and that leads them to wonder if the nascent or budding nuclear fusion industry will ever supersede solar power?
Most contemporary nuclear reactors are fission reactors, which produce lots of power but are far less powerful than fusion reactions. While fusion reactions can be generated in nuclear weapons, no one has yet to make a practical fusion reactor for affordable power generation on a consistent basis. It’s a holy grail in the industry but has been for decades, and progress on the issue is quite glacial.
While the future is uncertain and anything could happen, it’s quite unlikely that nuclear fusion power will supersede solar power, as solar power seems to be overtaking even nuclear fission. Very few reactors are under construction in the United States of America, as there are concerns over radiation leaks, thermal pollution from cooling water, and the lack of any place to permanently store the nuclear waste.
On the other hand, advances in manufacturing have made solar technology far more effective than previously suspected, including battery capacity so that power generated can be used later instead of immediately.