Taking a step towards the establishment of a continental energy strategy, energy ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Climate Change and Energy Collaboration on February 12, 2016 during the North American Energy Ministers Meeting in Winnipeg. In addition, they launched a web platform where North American energy information can be easily accessed in one place (an initiative that was originally announced in December 2014).
Under the MOU signed by Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the three countries will collaborate and share information on six key areas:
- sharing experience and knowledge in the development of reliable, resilient and low-carbon electricity grids;
- modeling, deploying and accelerating innovation of clean energy technologies, including renewables;
- exchanging information in order to improve energy efficiency for equipment, appliances, industries and buildings, including energy management systems;
- exchanging information and promoting joint action to advance the deployment of carbon capture, use and storage;
- identifying trilateral activities to further climate change adaptation and resilience; and
- sharing best practices and seeking methods to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sector, including methane and black carbon.
To facilitate information sharing, North American energy information is now gathered on one platform and is available on all three countries’ websites. Available information includes:
- a first suite of static and interactive North American energy infrastructure maps;
- a combined North American energy outlook;
- data tables and methodological guides to allow for the comparison of energy trade between the three countries; and
- a glossary of terms and definitions available in each country’s official languages.
It is anticipated that further discussions on a continental energy strategy will take place when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with President Barack Obama in March 2016. A tripartite strategy would be aimed at enabling Canada, Mexico and the US to work together on clean energy initiatives and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, potentially creating a bigger market for Canadian hydro, solar and wind power, as well as setting up an opportunity to develop a continent-wide infrastructure for electric cars.