BOSTON (SHNS) – The top energy official in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet plans to visit Massachusetts on Friday to celebrate the opening of a new commercial fusion energy research center.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm plans to join elected officials and state policy leaders at a ribbon-cutting event in Devens, where Commonwealth Fusion Systems plans to build “a compact fusion device that will prove fusion can work as a commercial energy source for the first time in history.”
Congresswoman Lori Trahan, whose district includes the former Fort Devens military base converted into a hub for development, will host Granholm alongside Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao. Bob Mumgaard, the CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, also plans to attend.
“I look forward to welcoming Secretary Granholm to the Third District to showcase the groundbreaking work being done at Commonwealth Fusion Systems,” Trahan, who co-chairs the Bipartisan Fusion Energy Caucus, said in a statement. “This facility in Devens is key in unlocking low cost, carbon free fusion energy that will revolutionize energy as we know it — and they’re doing it while creating good paying, family-sustaining manufacturing jobs in the process.”
CFS, which has roots at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announced in 2021 it planned to build out a 47-acre site in Devens to advance its research into generating energy by fusing atoms together, a process that has long remained out of reach for scientists.
The Biden administration has targeted an acceleration of fusion energy technology as a key clean energy strategy. In December, Granholm’s secretariat announced that researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made a breakthrough “decades in the making” by conducting a fusion experiment that produced more energy via fusion than the laser energy used to create the reaction.
The Devens campus will host SPARC, a device that will use high-temperature superconducting magnets to produce fusion, according to Granholm’s office. CFS says on its website that it expects the SPARC facility to be operational in 2025 and “pave the way for the first fusion power plant.”
Trahan helped secure passage of an amendment in 2020 launching a fusion development program.
After her visit at CFS, Granholm plans to stop in Waltham to visit homeowners who are taking advantage of incentive programs to install heat pumps.