Group Wants Hydropower Considered Green

A barrier to the use of Renewable Energy in North America is the different way the technology is defined, according to an international report.

MONTREAL, Quebec 2002-02-19 [SolarAccess.com] Twenty-two states in the U.S. have legislation to mandate minimal use of green power generated from Renewable Energy facilities, but none of the definitions have the same concept, according to the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). In a report to be released at a conference in Montreal, the group says these discrepancies represent a barrier to trade within the continental free trade agreement. The CEC was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to examine environmental issues concerning Canada, the United States and Mexico. It will hold a conference on barriers and opportunities for renewables on Monday, at which time the report is expected to be released. Inclusion of hydroelectric facilities as sources of green power is inconsistent among NAFTA members, with some states accepting hydro as ‘green’ if the generating facility is less than 100 MW capacity, while others accept hydro only if it comes from facilities under 30 MW capacity. Canada is less than one month from the conclusion of a consultation process to define renewable low-impact electricity under federal legislation. Two-thirds of Canadian power exports to the U.S. are generated from hydro turbines and domestic producers want hydroelectricity to be defined as green. The value of Canadian electricity exports to the U.S. is $1.2 billion a year. Only 4 percent of generation is from dams with capacity of less than 30 MW. California is the largest producer of Renewable Energy in North America, although the national goal is to use wind turbines to generate 5 percent of power by 2010, compared with the current output of 1 percent. In Canada, wind generates 0.1 percent of energy needs, although the federal government has announced plans to provide a production tax credit for wind turbines. In Europe, installed wind capacity is 60,000 MW, which is expected to rise to 150,000 MW by 2020. The use of carbon fuels to generate electricity in the United States releases 2,300 megatons of carbon dioxide, with 122 megatons in Canada and 90 megatons in Mexico.
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