From the Elysian Republican, May 2059
From our correspondent in London, UK
The Republic of Antarctica government announced this morning that it has decided to purchase a 10 GW fusion reactor from France. This decision marks an important change in the energy policy of Earth’s southern most nation. Since the colonization of Antarctica, i.e. Mary Bird Land, began in the late 2020s, the Republic of Antarctica has relied on wind power as its principal source of energy.
Earth’s southern continent is also the most windiest on the planet. Because small windmills could be obtained for relatively modest prices, the early colonists who operated without state support, opted for wind power as an environment-friendly reliable source to meet their energy demand. Large swaps of land are currently covered with wind parks.
Heat generation is the most important application of energy on Antarctica. Currently electrical heat-pumps are used for heating the Republic of Antarctica settlements. According to a government spokeswoman the country needs a more extensive source of heat and electrical power to support the growth of the population. Fusion power is considered the best choice, since Antarctica has easy access to deuterium and fusion power produce little waste.
The current population of Mary Bird Land, the territory of the Republic of Antarctica, is slightly less than 20,000 but is estimated to grow to 150,000 during the next decade. Antarctica is the largest recipient of asylum seekers on Earth, the government basically allows everyone who applies permanent residence with the exception of serious criminals. Rather than seeking to reduce the influx of immigrants, the state is developing plans to accommodate all these new inhabitants.
Due to its extreme conditions Antarctica has the highest energy per capita consumption of all terrestrial nations. This has caused severe criticism from certain environmental groups. A common argument is that people could better immigrate to space colonies than to Antarctica, since colonization of Antarctica is a threat to its environment. The RoA government refutes these critiques by stating that the country has the strictest environmental laws on the planet. For instance is mining prohibited within the country, despite the lapse of the Antarctic treaty a few years ago.
Another type of criticism the country faces is that it primarily serves as a flag of convenience state, and indeed its ship register is an important source of income for the government. Also the country is accused of being a tax haven. The government spends a lot of efforts to debunk these claims, citing that tourism is its primary source of income and that all businesses listed in the country are related to economic activity in the state.
Many server centers are located in the Republic of Antarctica, because of the nations strict privacy laws. These centers consume large amounts of electricity and the country can maintain its position as internet hub only if it significantly increases its power production. It is rumored that a consortium of leading internet companies will pay two-thirds of the costs of the fusion reactor, but the government’s spokeswoman refused to comment on the funding of the project.