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In 2023, a breakthrough in fusion research at the ITER project in France finally achieved sustained net energy output, exceeding the power input by a factor of 10. This was the result of decades of international collaboration, improved plasma physics models, and advanced materials engineering. The news sparked a global surge of interest and investment in fusion energy, as governments and corporations realized the potential of a clean, safe, and virtually limitless source of power.
In 2025, the U.S. launched the Fusion Energy Innovation Act, a bipartisan bill that allocated $50 billion over 10 years to support the development and deployment of fusion reactors, as well as related research and education. The bill also streamlined the regulatory and licensing process for fusion projects, and created incentives for public-private partnerships and regional cooperation. The act was part of a broader energy transition plan that aimed to decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050, and included measures to expand renewable energy, energy storage, grid modernization, and energy efficiency.
In 2027, the first commercial fusion plant in the world started operation in China, a 500-megawatt (MW) facility built by a consortium of Chinese and European companies. The plant used a tokamak design, similar to the ITER project, but with several innovations to reduce costs and improve performance. The plant was able to produce electricity at a competitive price of 5 cents per kWh, and had a high availability and reliability. The plant was hailed as a milestone for fusion energy and a model for future projects.
In 2029, the U.S. followed suit with its own first commercial fusion plant, a 400-MW facility in Nevada, built by a joint venture of American and Japanese firms. The plant used a different design, based on a stellarator concept, that offered more flexibility and stability in the plasma configuration. The plant also incorporated advanced superconducting magnets, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to optimize the fusion process and reduce operational costs. The plant was able to produce electricity at a slightly lower price of 4.5 cents per kWh, and had a similar high availability and reliability.
In 2031, the fusion industry entered a phase of rapid growth and innovation, as more countries and companies joined the race to build and operate fusion plants. Several new designs and technologies emerged, such as spherical tokamaks, inertial confinement fusion, fusion-fission hybrids, and aneutronic fusion. These approaches offered various advantages, such as smaller size, lower waste, higher efficiency, and lower radiation. The fusion industry also benefited from the development of other fields, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and quantum computing, that enabled new materials, sensors, and controls for fusion reactors. The fusion industry also fostered a culture of collaboration and openness, sharing data, best practices, and lessons learned across the world.
In 2035, the global installed capacity of fusion energy reached 100 gigawatts (GW), surpassing the combined capacity of nuclear fission and coal power. The average cost of fusion electricity dropped to 3 cents per kWh, making it the cheapest form of energy available. Fusion energy also had a minimal environmental impact, producing no greenhouse gas emissions, no radioactive waste, and no risk of meltdowns or proliferation. Fusion energy also had a positive social impact, creating millions of jobs, enhancing energy security, and reducing energy poverty.
In 2040, the fusion industry achieved a breakthrough in grid integration, developing a smart and flexible system that coordinated the supply and demand of fusion electricity with other sources, such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. The system used advanced software, blockchain, and internet of things to manage the flow of power, balance the load, and optimize the efficiency and reliability of the grid. The system also enabled the integration of distributed and decentralized energy resources, such as microgrids, community power, and prosumers. The system also facilitated the electrification of other sectors, such as transportation, heating, and industry, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and emissions.
In 2045, the fusion industry reached a milestone of 1 terawatt (TW) of global installed capacity, accounting for more than half of the world’s electricity generation. The average cost of fusion electricity fell to 2 cents per kWh, making it the most affordable and accessible form of energy for everyone. Fusion energy also enabled the development of new applications and industries, such as hydrogen production, desalination, space exploration, and plasma medicine.
In 2050, the fusion industry achieved the ultimate goal of energy abundance, producing more energy than the world could consume, and effectively ending the energy crisis. The average cost of fusion electricity dropped to 1 cent per kWh, making it virtually free for everyone. Fusion energy also transformed the world in many ways, such as mitigating climate change, improving human health, enhancing global cooperation, and unleashing human creativity and potential.
In 2053, the world enjoys a state of energy prosperity, where everyone has access to clean, safe, and abundant energy, and where the energy system is resilient, efficient, and intelligent. The world also celebrates the 26th anniversary of the first commercial fusion plant, and the 30th anniversary of the ITER breakthrough, as milestones of human achievement and progress. The world also looks forward to the future of fusion energy, and the new challenges and opportunities it will bring.