The North America region, which consists of three countries: United States of America, Canada and Mexico, has been playing a key role in the studies activities regarding cleaner fossil fuel systems, carbon capturing, utilisation and storage (CCS/CCUS), performance of generating plants, unconventional fuel resources, survey of energy resources and technologies, energy policy trilemma issues, and energy scenarios.
The region has also addressed their countries’ unique issues and challenges at energy forums and workshops focusing on topics such as, replacement of nuclear, regulation on CCS technology, smart energy policies, energy efficiency with advanced technologies, and trade issues.
The region organises the World Energy Council official regional forum, the North America-Latin America bi-regional forum which addresses energy efficiency, energy conservation, alternative energies, energy transport and fossil fuels issues.
Energy in North America
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Natural resource development is a significant component of the GDP for all three North American countries. Since both the production and use of fossil fuels play a large role in the North American energy sector, the challenge of meeting emissions reduction targets is significantly greater than it would be for countries lacking fossil fuel resources.
While greater electrification, using less-emitting generation sources remains a general policy objective across Canada, Mexico and the US, overall energy end-use remains primarily non-renewable, fossil-based sources.
On the economic front, the US-initiated renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement presented a degree of inevitable uncertainty for the North American energy sector in 2018. Tariffs and countervailing tariffs in the steel and aluminium sectors present negative cost effects on energy projects in all three countries. Despite some areas of cooperation, disparate frameworks continue to hinder the optimal effectiveness of a North America response to the global issue of climate change.
North American energy professionals remain keenly aware of the fast-paced disruption, and enhancement opportunities, that big data, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things (IoT) are presenting to established business models. The advent of blockchain technology in particular is of special interest for those involved in electricity distribution and trade.
Increased energy efficiency continues to be one of the most common and cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across North America. The widespread deployment of new renewables is also helpful in this regard however, but they can present both physical and operational challenges.