Home to almost half a billion people, IRENA’s North America region covers 21.8 million square kilometers and includes the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico — three countries flanked by oceans and stretching from the Arctic to the tropics.
The geographical and climatic diversity of the continent gives the region has some of the best wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass resources in the world. The region also has a vibrant culture of innovation, plentiful financing opportunities, and a highly skilled workforce, alongside an agile and entrepreneurial business sector.
The region is reliant 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 operating facilities date back over a century.
The US, home to iconic hydropower dams – like the Colorado River taming Hoover Dam – is also a historical pioneer, and modern powerhouse in the field of solar energy. The solar industry in the country is currently booming, employing over 260,000 people and adding workers almost 17 times as fast as the overall economy.
Mexico, like its northern neighbours, also relies heavily on hydropower, but with an abundance of sun and wind, and an active geological landscape the country is working to expand its renewables portfolio. Mexico is already the world’s fifth largest country with regards to geothermal power installed capacity, surpassed only by the US, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand. IRENA analysis has shown Mexico could utilise its high temperature reservoir potential to reach 4.5 gigawatts of geothermal capacity by 2030.
IRENA works closely with both the United States and Mexico, and in 2015 assessed both countries’ renewable energy potential. Through its renewable energy roadmap work, the Agency created has provided viable pathways towards achieving the US’s and Mexico’s renewable energy targets.
Canada is not yet an IRENA Member.