Originally Posted by cdcox
I agree, that it is worth more investment. However, I know that the challenges in materials to make fusion viable are nearly as daunting as the nuclear physics.
I think photovoltaics are worth subsidizing now, due to the learning curve effect, known as Swanson's law in photovoltaics and Moore's law in computing. The more you install, the cheaper it becomes.
Here is my proposal (I call it the Best Energy Plan, BEP for short): economists have determined estimates of the cost of adding carbon to the atmosphere, assuming the projections of the IPCC are accurate. Take this value, and make it a tax credit for any end user that adopts renewable energy. Allow various types of renewable energy so we are not picking winners and losers, but also require a certain amount of diversity of eligible energy forms to avoid putting all of our eggs in one energy basket that might have unintended consequences. Allow this incentive to apply to a certain percentage of the energy demand: perhaps increase the use of renewables by 1% of the total energy market per year. This increase is enough to make a market impact, but much smaller than the price volatility already present in energy markets: it won't significantly drag the economy. Dial back the incentives as the cost gap between renewables and conventional energy decreases. After a few years, you could probably let the market control the tax credit incentive based on a fixed target renewable energy fraction. The BEP needs to be a global initiative to have any benefit.
I have no problem with that plan. It would be worthwhile simply for the advances in engineering you'll see from it. I also like anything that leads to a more diversified and distributed grid. If you want to sell it to the traditional "right" you can also point out that it reduces our susceptibility to terror threats and is important for national security.