Nuclear, cross-border transmission have role in making North America 50% ‘clean’

While renewable power is central to helping North American leaders attain 50% ‘clean energy’ by 2025, nuclear power and cross-border transmission also have a role to play, according to the official ‘action plan’ released through the White House.

The North American Climate, Energy, and Environment Partnership was announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Barack Obama, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on June 29 at the North American Leaders Summit in Ottawa, Canada.

The plan says that the nations will strive to achieve a goal for North America of 50% clean power generation by 2025, including renewable, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as demand reduction through energy efficiency.

“But wind and solar are only part of the story,” according to a June 29 White House blog. “With nuclear and hydro and non-hydro renewable energy, clean energy is already providing roughly 35 percent of electricity generation, and by 2025 EIA [Energy Information Administration] projects 43 percent clean power generation under their reference case."

Importantly, the action plan also calls for phasing out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.”

The actions will be undertaken by each country individually to achieve this regional goal being in accordance with their own conditions, specific legal frameworks and clean energy national goals.

The nations will support “the development of cross-border transmission projects, including for renewable electricity. The three countries recognize the important role that cross-border transmission lines can play in cleaning and increasing the reliability and flexibility of North America’s electricity grid.”

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, according to the action plan.

Building on the U.S.-Canadian experience, Mexico and the United States have initiated discussions to explore a similar conceptual model for deepened bilateral electric reliability cooperation.  This cooperation is a critical step towards establishing a shared trilateral vision for electricity reliability in North America.

Development of a North American Renewable Integration Study in connection with the U.S. Quadrennial Energy Review is also mentioned in the plan.

In connection with the North American agreement, the U.S. General Services Administration and Public Services and Procurement Canada announce their intention to increase the percentage of electricity they purchase from clean energy sources to 100% by 2025.

The agreement also says that the nations will support collaborative efforts on early warning systems for natural disasters; in particular, improving ocean observing capabilities.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.