‘Clean’ power to produce half of U.S. energy by 2025

If the U.S. Clean Power Plan takes effect, renewable and nuclear energy will provide almost half of the country’s electricity production by 2025, the Department of Energy said in a report released Tuesday.

The projection says renewables and nuclear could grow from 38 percent now to 45 percent in 10 years — a growth of almost 20 percent, but still not enough to meet a recent North American pact.

Canada, Mexico and the U.S. agreed in June to grow clean energy sources to 50 percent of electricity generation by 2025.

U.S. consumers use the vast majority of total North American electricity generation — more than 80 percent. Canada represents about 13 percent; Mexico, 6 percent.

The Department of Energy’s Information Administration report assumes that the Clean Power Plan goes into effect in 2022.

But renewable generation in the U.S. is already ramping up, as companies prepare for the law’s implementation, according to the report. “The extension of certain tax credits, significant cost reductions, and recognition of future (Clean Power Plan) requirements result in a large increase in renewable generation between 2015 and 2025,” the report predicts.

U.S. coal-fired generation is expected to decline by 13 percent in that period; natural gas-fired power should increase by 4 percent.

Canada plans to boost wind, solar and hydroelectric capabilities and phase out the use of existing coal plants by 2025, the report says. It already produces 80 percent of its energy with clean power, thanks to its large hydroelectric capacity. That total should fall some, however, as the country retires nuclear plants and increases natural gas usage.

Mexico has announced national energy goals and electricity market reform to help encourage low-carbon expansion. By 2025, the country’s combined nuclear and renewables share should rise to 29 percent.