Canada could expand its electricity exports to the United States by 50% by 2023, an article in USA Today suggests. But that will depend on the defeat of reality TV star Donald Trump in next week’s presidential election—and the addition of more high-capacity transmission links between the two countries.
“Canada and the U.S. have been electricity trading partners for more than 100 years,” the U.S. daily notes. But economics, availability, and (for now) U.S. federal policy are aligned to increase the amount of juice flowing from north to south.
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Canada’s power exports to the U.S. reached a record of almost 60 terawatt hours in 2015, worth $2.8 billion, thanks to “comparatively low prices” among other factors. But with hydroelectricity providing 63% of Canada’s supply—augmented by non-emitting nuclear and growing wind capacity—and with both countries having joined with Mexico in June to set a common goal of generating half the continent’s electricity from clean sources by 2025, “the timing seems right to look increasingly to our [northern] neighbor for more green power,” USA Today asserts.
To achieve that goal, the “35 or so” existing cross-border power interconnections will need to be augmented. Six new transmission lines are under development, but “some face opposition from residents and business owners who object to new lines being strung across their regions, or who prefer other options for meeting energy needs.”
The election of Trump as president could also derail U.S. utility plans to respond to mandates in President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan by importing more clean energy.
Still, if all new interties are built, Canada’s exports of electricity to the United States could increase by as much as 50%, the newspaper suggests, citing an optimistic assessment by Sergio Marchi, president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association.