North American countries likely to come up short in renewable energy goal

The US, Canada, and Mexico struck an agreement recently to increase overall renewable energy consumption to 50 percent by 2025 from our current rate of 38 percent. But the 2016 Annual Energy Outlook produced by the US Energy Information Administration shows that we are likely to come up about five percent short of that goal, based on current trends.

The study includes nuclear, renewables (wind, water, solar), & energy efficiency as eligible sources of clean energy.  Everything else like coal and natural gas are considered fossil fuel sources.

The United States currently represents more than 80 percent of total electric generation in North America.  Currently 33 percent of our energy generation is from renewable sources. That number is projected to climb over 40 percent by 2025, but not likely high enough to get to the goal under the current trends and policies by the US.

Canada’s renewable energy is vast with 80 percent of total generation coming from clean sources, but only accounts for 13 percent of total energy in North America.  Increase in demand as the country continues its rapid growth, decreasing capacity in its nuclear plants, and a large year over year growth for natural gas production used for winter heat, will likely cause a fall in overall renewable energy generation by 2025.

While the US and Canada’s overall policies and trends are unlikely to waver much through the next several years, the wild card is Mexico. 21 percent of total energy generated in the country is considered clean, but that number is expected to climb eight percent by 2025, however it could be much higher.  The country is undergoing electricity market reform to help encourage the development of new low-carbon capacity expansion and has pretty lofty national energy efficiency goals.  Both of these could not be accounted in the study because they are not in place yet.

While North American may come up short of our goal by 2025, we are at least heading in the right direction.  It may not seem like we are heading toward total clean energy fast enough, we may not be as far off as you might think.  Technology will continue to improve, especially for wind and solar power, which will only aid in power generation.  Not to mention, awareness for clean energy is up tenfold globally over the last decade which means policies will continue to be implemented to get us where we need to be… hopefully sooner rather than later.