Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have come together for the “North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership,” which puts forth a goal of achieving 50% clean power generation in North America by 2025.
The agreement was signed during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, today. A release from the Obama administration explains that North America has the capacity, resources and the moral imperative to show strong leadership building on the Paris Agreement, which includes a goal of limiting temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees C.
The administration says the 50% by 2025 goal will be reached through a combination of clean energy development and deployment, clean energy innovation, and energy efficiency, including as follows:
- Scaling up clean energy through aggressive domestic initiatives and policies, including Mexico’s Energy Transition Law and new Clean Energy Certificates, the U.S.’ Clean Power Plan and five-year extension of production and investment tax credits, and Canada’s actions to further scale up renewables, including hydro.
- Collaborating on cross-border transmission projects, including for renewable energy. At least six transmission lines currently proposed or in permitting review, such as the Great Northern Transmission Line, the New England Clean Power Link and the Nogales Interconnection, would add approximately 5,000 MW of new cross-border transmission capacity.
- Conducting a joint study on the opportunities and impacts of adding more renewables to the power grid on a North American basis.
- Enhancing trilateral collaboration on greening of government initiatives, including the purchase of more efficient products, cleaner power and clean vehicles.
- Strengthening and aligning efficiency standards across all three countries in order to facilitate the seamless movement of products, reduce pollution and cut costs for consumers. The countries are committing to promote industrial and commercial efficiency through the voluntary ISO 50001 energy performance standard and to align a total of 10 energy efficiency standards or test procedures for equipment by the end of 2019.
- Building on North American leadership in international forums such as Mission Innovation to accelerate clean energy innovation. Energy researchers will identify joint research and demonstration initiatives to advance clean technologies in priority areas such as electricity grids and energy storage; the reduction of methane emissions; carbon capture, utilization and storage; and advanced heating and cooling.
In addition, the three countries will continue to strengthen the North American Cooperation on Energy Information platform by including additional geospatial information relating to cross-border infrastructure and renewable energy resources. They will also commit to deepened electric reliability cooperation in order to strengthen the security and resilience of an increasingly integrated North American electricity grid.
The Obama administration adds that Mexico will join Canada and the U.S. in committing to reduce their methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
Also, the countries pledge to continue collaborating with one another and with international partners on significant national actions to reduce black-carbon emissions in North America and promote alternatives to highly polluting hydrofluorocarbons.
In addition, the U.S., Canada and Mexico plan to work together on climate mitigation and adaptation – focusing in particular on highly integrated sectors, shared ecosystems, human health and disaster risk-reduction efforts – as well as support developing country partners in their mitigation and adaptation efforts.
The Obama administration says the countries will also support robust implementation of the Paris Agreement’s transparency and carbon markets-related provisions and will develop mid-century, long-term strategies for low greenhouse-gas emissions development. The countries also will promote universal energy access and work together to address the challenges of energy security and integration, clean energy investment, and regional energy cooperation in the Caribbean and Central America.
Speaking on the newly announced target, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, says in a statement that the U.S., Mexico and Canada “already obtain nearly 40 percent of their electricity from zero-emission generation.”
In addition, continues Kiernan, “wind energy has accounted for 77 percent of the growth in non-emitting generation in the U.S. over the last 10 years.”
“Thanks to wind power’s 66 percent cost decline over the last six years, homegrown wind energy is already on track to double by 2020 in the U.S.,” he says. “As the lowest-cost zero-emission energy source by a large margin, wind energy will be the workhorse to meet future carbon-reduction targets while saving consumers money.”