8. The National Ignition Facility (left) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will attain net positive with laser fusion. Remember? Fusion is the process our Sun and all the stars use by consuming hydrogen to produce solar energy. The problem is that the Hydrogen Bomb is also fusion, and controlling the reaction will be a monumental challenge. ITER in France, the magnetic confinement scheme, will not in this timeframe achieve anything. Commercial fusion should be attained sometime before 2100, and with a lot of luck or dire need, maybe 2050.
How? Mainly through fracking (the red part above). Yet, there are contrarion viewpoints, too. If there is no serious carbon tax (and there won't, so go to #1 to see what then could happen), by 2020, the levelized cost to produce electricity will settle in the range (2012 dollars) of:
- coal = 10 cents/kWh (but dirty)
- cleaner coal = 15 cents/kWh (this is still not carbon capture and storage--CCS)
- CCS coal = 20 cents/kWh
- nuclear = 15 cents/kWh (if anything new actually gets built)
- wind = 10 cents/kWh
- solar PV = 15 cents/kWh
About PV, the cell modules of large systems will drop to 50 cents/watt. However, the total installed cost for these utility scale farms will be around $4/watt, meaning that the actual PV cell cost would be only 12.5%. Thus, if these solar conversion materials drop to zero (and they won't), the absolute lowest cost (including labor, insurance, construction materials, etc.) PV systems will not drop below 10 cents/kWh, and could will be as high as 15 cents/kWh for homes. When you crank in the intermittency and coverage for less than one-third of the day, the economics become debatable Of course Federal and state tax credits will disappear during this interval. One final point is that the utility company will tell you that your roof modules will not power your home if there is a total blackout, say, caused by a hurricane, even when the Sun is shining. One option is to include batteries to cover nights. But the life cycle system cost then could well double. What I don't understand is why an automatic switch of some sorts is not not part of the circuit so your PV modules can at least power your home in the daytime.
4. The Pacific International Ocean Station will be commissioned, and dedicated to Guy Toyama. This milestone will launch the Blue Revolution.