Investment in fusion energy is about to go mainstream, according to the lead fusion coordinator for the U.S. Department of Energy.
“As the technology continues to mature, there will be a point where private investors feel that they must be invested in fusion, and I feel like we’re starting to reach that inflection point,” Scott Hsu said Thursday in a webinar hosted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
Hsu advises DOE leadership on fusion-energy issues, and he coordinates the efforts of all Energy Department offices to promote fusion-energy research, development, and demonstration in partnership with the private sector.
“Whereas earlier on it was regarded as a very high risk kind of activity, at some point later on it will be that everyone’s invested in it. And so, the question is where are we right now, and I do think we’re on an overall growth trend given the macro picture.”
Governments have supported research into fusion for decades, but in 2021 private investment surged past public funding. That year, private investors poured $4.44 billion into a pursuit that had only attracted $1.5. billion over the previous five years, according to a recent assessment by McKinsey & Co.
The more significant development that year, Hsu said, is that both the 3-year and 5-year moving averages for private investment passed the level of public investment.
“Now some of that I think is due to just very specific milestones being reached by certain companies, but I would say there’s a macro trend as well going on.”
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