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Most of North America to run on 50 percent clean electricity by 2025

The continent's leaders have agreed work together on a clean energy future.
Most of North America to run on 50 percent clean electricity by 2025

Within 10 years most of the North American continent will source half of its electricity from clean energy, according to a new pact agreed to by President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The three country’s leaders are expected to announce the new target tomorrow during the North American Leaders Summit.

The plan is “an aggressive goal,” but one that “is achievable continent-wide,” according to White House spokesman Brian Deese.

One of the reasons it is achievable is because renewables have become much cheaper in recent years, like low-cost wind energy. Wind’s costs have fallen 66 percent over the last six years, due in part to American innovation and advances in domestic manufacturing that allow wind turbines to reach stronger, steadier winds. This makes more wind more economical in more places.

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For example, this year North Carolina’s first utility-scale wind project will come online, and the country’s first offshore wind farm will begin operations off the coast of Rhode Island. Just a few years ago, these projects wouldn’t have been financially viable because of technological constraints.

America’s energy transformation will continue, as Deese further explained, because it’s being driven in part by, “market forces that are bringing down the cost of clean energy at rates that even the smartest analysts weren’t predicting only a couple of years ago.”

We’re seeing this transition take place in real-time in places like Iowa, Texas and other parts of the country, where wind energy is often the cheapest source of new electric generating capacity.

Because of its increasing cost-competitiveness, more wind power came online than any other source of new electricity in 2015, putting it on track to quadruple in size by 2030 to generate 20 percent of the country’s electricity. Over the last 10 years, wind has accounted for 77 percent of the U.S.’s clean electricity growth. As the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut CO2 pollution, wind power will be a workhorse in helping the U.S., Canada and Mexico achieve their carbon reduction goals.

In 2015, the U.S., Canada and Mexico sourced 37 percent of their electricity from clean sources. If we continue growing wind power and hit the 2030 target of 20 percent wind on the U.S. grid that would meet the countries’ 50 percent goal. Other clean energy growth would take it well past that mark.

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Greg is AWEA's Deputy Director of External Communications. He is the head editor and writer for Into the Wind, and oversees AWEA's online content and opinion writing. Greg holds a Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University.

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