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Characterizing Fusion Market Entry via an Agent-based Power Plant Fleet Model

Publication: 
Energy Strategy Reviews
Publication Date: 
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Volume: 
26
Related Program(s): 
Author(s): 
Lucas
Spangher
J. Scott
Vitter
Ryan
Umstattd

Abstract:

When fusion power is ready to enter the market, what will that introduction and transition look like? Understanding that opportunity can help fusion developers, investors, and energy-industry insiders alike. In the study described in this paper, the authors represent the entire U.S. power generation fleet with an agent-based model that incorporates projections for future need as well as historical data on types and typical lifetimes of existing power plants.  This model was used to examine various scenarios for fusion market entry that included variations in entry date, uptake/transition rate, and final market capture fraction.  Since the projected U.S. electricity demand is growing relatively slowly, the new capacity built to replace retiring capacity outnumbers new capacity due to demand growth by 6-to-1.  Given that the weighted average lifetime of a power plant is over 50 years, that equates to having to replace approximately 3% of the U.S. fleet each year. Depending on the final market share capture fraction assumed in the model, fusion ramps up to approximately 3-15 GWe per year capacity additions in U.S.