Our only long term practical energy source is fusion power. Nothing else comes even close, even fission. And fission was overhyped, the cost estimates were lowballed, they promised some magical way to deal with the waste starting in the 50s and are no closer now than then, and you can't have it all over because you can make bad boom boom stuff from it, even just having the tech is enough to threaten massive war. We are fracing that right now, big fat war in Iran over access to nuclear power. It sucks, wish it had never been developed meselfs, more problems than it is worth....anyway..
Fission is a fool's game except for a few niche applications. Fusion is where it is at. I am as pro fusion power as anyone can get! Fusion rocks!
The thing is, we are emphasizing basically what is in essence a "re inventing the wheel" methodology on a teeny scale here on Earth, in some insanely expensive and complex science fiction type containment bubble, with not much in the way of results for the last half century.
Interesting, but more academic wanking than really solving the energy problem. I give it a 1.2 effort tops, out of a 10 possible, discordant beat, no melody, and difficult to dance to.. It keeps those particular eggheads occupied, that's what it is best for. Cool if they pull it off sometime within a few centuries..but right now we need to put the pedal to the metal on getting a LOT more energy, and it needs to be cheap, and scalable from one watt to tens of gigawatts. And cheap. And low maintenance. And cheap. And not cause wars. And be flexible from huge corporations running it to joe sixpack can own it himself and pay if off, and everywhere in between. And cheap.
Harvesting fusion power works for that.
Fusion power harvesting solves all of those problems and can fill every single need and variance for energy we have now. All of them..
Relatively simple now harvesting nuclear fusion, from the sun, which will be there for billions of years pumping out the gigajoules, whether in the form of direct electricity from photovoltaics, concentrated heat from solar thermal to make electricity or to heat massive cities or factories or greenhouses, etc, or biomatter- bascially ANYTHING that can be grown with *free* solar fusion power and photosynthesis, to then be converted further into liquid transportation fuels that can go directly into our *already established and outrageously expensive to replicate transportation stack*, all of that, has been inching along quite nicely and can and *will* fill the gap as conventional petroleum fuels become too dear.
But the US and western europe are gonna be SOL when it comes to having it cheap.
IF we had done a manhattan project/apollo moon landing project scale effort back during the first oil shock days, 30 years ago now, which is the one thing Carter got right and we should have acted on, we'd be sitting pretty now. Heck, we could have done that last year instead of throwing a trillion bucks at casino bankers!
Alas, hat in hand, begging and groveling until the last few years, solar fusion power has been moderately successful but still chump change/ small scale efforts complete with "home owners associations" saying "no,those panels are just too icky", view freaks calling themselves alleged "stakeholders" demanding no wind power, etc, all sorts of people complaining about our first babysteps with biofuels, etc, whine, kvetch, bitch, etc... now it looks like once again, where they shipped real wealth production off to, the place that groks energy and wealth creation better and is willing to spend the cash in practical terms, will be the big winners.
We'll STILL be importing our "energy" even when all the oil runs out....well, I won't be, I have practical priorities and I dig energy and WILL walk my talk, but most everyone else will be...
If china wasn't a dismal two class despotic regime, and had a society that held human life as a bit more valuable than they do, I would consider moving there, but I dig on personal freedom more than just accumulating wealth. If all I was considering is accumulating wealth, I'd go there though.
They took, stole, bought, borrowed, got lended all the crown jewels of western tech, including solar fusion power harvesting, and are running with that now, and will trump the world while the west closes factories and emphasizes multicultural sensitivity training and pro sports and "reality" television, which is an oxymoron....
I can't blame them, wall street handed it to them for pennies on the yuan, so they took it. They looked at each other and went "Lound eye devils crazy! Give us all the good stuff! Pay us to take it! We wook haad one genelation, then we win! Let's do it!" So they did. And now it's done.
They would have been nuts to say no. Now, real soon now, they won't *need* the west for any more tech transfers or as a "market", they will be able to flip us the bird, say "oh, you want energy? You want manufactured goods? Ok! this is what it costs [some outrageous figure]..plus all your wimmins and all your farmlands and all your ports and all your toll roads and all your base, plus you agree to sixteen generations be in debt to us because we own bonds! You our bitch!".
And they'll get it. Because we will have waited too long and gave them the edge. Not just the edge, the shaft, the blade, the scabbard, the whole dang sharp sword of bleeding edge success. Even if we could, we won't be able to afford it. Cheap for them, real expensive for us.
We coulda been a contendah...