North America features some of the world’s richest wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass resources. The region also has a vibrant culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, plentiful financing opportunities and a highly skilled workforce.
The continent relies on renewable energy for large-scale power generation, particularly in the form of hydropower. In Canada, hydropower accounts for 63% of electricity generation, and some dams are more than 100 years old.
The US, home to iconic hydropower projects like the Hoover Dam, which tames the Colorado River, also pioneered solar energy and remains a powerhouse in new renewable energy technologies. The solar industry in the country employs more than 260,000 people and creates jobs at a rate 17 times faster than the US average.
Mexico, like its northern neighbours, relies heavily on hydropower, but also has an abundance of sun and wind, and an active geological landscape the country is working to incorporate in its renewables portfolio. Mexico has the world’s sixth-largest installed capacity for geothermal power, at 951 MW, surpassed only by the US, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya and New Zealand. IRENA analysis shows that Mexico could reach 4.5 gigawatts of capacity by 2030.
IRENA works closely with both the United States and Mexico, and in 2015 assessed both countries’ renewable energy potentials. Through its renewable energy roadmap work, the agency has provided viable pathways towards achieving these countries’ renewable energy targets.
To the south of Mexico, the countries of Central America have also set out to scale up renewables and are closely engaged with IRENA through a regional Clean Energy Corridor initiative.