The United States, Mexico, and Canada have inked a new climate pact to produce 50% of their electricity by 2025 from clean energy sources. The clean electricity pact includes wind, solar, nuclear, and hydropower. The deal is set to be announced Wednesday at a summit of the three nations.
As reported by Reuters, this agreement builds on climate efforts from the Obama administration, including the EPA Clean Power Plan and signing of the Paris Climate Agreement last year.
But this plan will prove to be highly ambitious for Mexico, which last year got less than 20% of its electricity from renewables and nuclear. The US currently sources about a third of its power generation from renewable and nuclear resources, and Canada is over 80%. The agreement also includes language to limit methane emissions 40% to 45% by 2025 and provisions to ease power trading across borders.
UtilityDIVE reports this three-nation agreement seeks to “…provide additional policy certainty for the clean energy sector in the next decade.”
The deal is expected to open power trading opportunities for Canadian utilities, which got 81% of their power last year from renewables and nuclear, according to the CBC. The agreement includes provisions to ease the procurement of power across international borders, and power providers with excess clean energy could help others bring up their supplies.
The Energy Information Administration states renewables and nuclear would deliver a little over 40% of US electricity in 2025 if the existing Clean Power Plan is upheld, and 38% if it is overturned in court. Acceleration in clean energy adoption and enhanced Canadian imports could help the U.S. meet the 50% clean energy mark.
Nuclear generation in the US is another matter. Responsible for a fifth of total US generation today, many nuclear plants are struggling to compete in the nation’s organized markets as cheap natural gas and stagnant load growth keep energy prices down. Last month, Exelon announced it would retire two struggling nuclear plants after a support package failed to pass in the Illinois legislature, and utility executives are calling for market reforms to preserve remaining plants.
This climate pact did not limit itself to carbon. Mexico would also sign on to provisions agreed between Canada and the US last year to cut methane emissions by up to 45% by 2025. Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 20 times more potent than CO2 in the short term and environmentalists say addressing leaks will be crucial in ensuring a shift to more gas generation does not impede climate progress.
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