I have been following the development of fusion power generation for a while. I have listened to a few presentations from Lockheed Martin's SkunkWorks department where they explain how they are making great progress in developing compact fusion reactions that they believe will soon be able to provide a replacement for much of our current energy production processes. The ingredients needed can be extracted from sea water and the Earth's crust and are so fantastically abundant as to be essentially unlimited. More energy could be derived from a liter of seawater than ten thousand liters of oil. They believe the key to success is in the design of the magnetic containment field that pushes the fusion reaction over a critical line where it "ignites" and becomes self-sustaining. They envision compact reactors distributed around cities and towns, where a single reactor could fit in a shipping container sized space and provide power for 100,000 homes. Imagine cities powered by pollution-free, distributed, redundant, inexpensive and portable power centers. For those who are afraid of fossil fuels, this technology could make them almost obsolete.
Not too long ago Ontario wasted a billion on gas energy plants that were never built and is currently wasting several billion per year by paying other jurisdictions to take un-needed wind and solar power off our hands.
Instead, what if Ontario organized the world's largest science prize and offered a billion dollars to the team that can provide a working compact fusion device? What if Ontario was to lead the wold into a new era of clean, abundant, cheap, dense and portable energy? How would that be for a modern day version of a trip to the moon?
By the way, this is not a call for government to fund such a prize through taxation - this is a tongue in cheek idea.