US, Canada, Mexico detail continent-wide clean energy plan

US, Canada, Mexico detail continent-wide clean energy plan
© Getty Images

Leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico on Wednesday added new details to their new clean energy effort, a push to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

The centerpiece of the plan is a push to deploy more renewable energy, nuclear power, advanced fossil fuel technology and energy efficiency measures to reach their goal by the middle of the next decade.

ADVERTISEMENT
They will do that, according to a fact sheet from the White House, through a host of efforts, including approving new cross-border transmission lines, studying “energy system integration” continent-wide and purchasing cleaner vehicles and energy for government operations.

“We’re making sure that North American remains a leader in the fight against climate change,” President Obama said Wednesday after meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in Ottawa, Canada.

“This is what can happen when countries come together in pursuit of a common goal, when we have a big idea and the political will to make it happen,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Today’s climate agreement stands as proof that cooperation pays off and that working together always beats going it alone.”

The countries will also work together on joint energy efficiency targets and research and development efforts for renewable energy and carbon capture and storage technology.

Mexico will also join the U.S. and Canadian push to reduce methane emissions by at least 40 percent by 2025, with all three countries pledging federal methane regulations to reach the goal.  

The North America deal is the latest international effort pursued by the Obama administration, and an ambitious one. In 2015, 37 percent of total power generation across the continent was from clean sources, the White House said this week.

The U.S. gets about 33 percent of its electricity from renewables, hydropower and nuclear, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. It doesn’t need to get to 50 percent in order for the content to reach its overall goal, but a top White House official said this week that is a “stretch goal” of the agreement.

“That is not necessary to hitting this North American goal, but it is a stretch goal that we think the U.S. can accomplish,” Brian Deese, Obama’s top climate change adviser, said on Monday.

--Timothy Cama contributed to this report, which was updated at 4:00 p.m.