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NERA Associate Director Dr. Laura T.W. Olive describes the complexities that exist in the energy trade between the United States and Canada in an Electricity Journal article that highlights the challenges the US and Canada face as they transition to renewable energy.

The US and Canada are the world’s greatest trading partners, and energy comprises a major portion of that trade. The infrastructure links between the two countries result from a complicated story of national politics, unusual US federal permitting legislation, and special interest groups that started with oil and gas pipelines in the 1950s. Dr. Olive presents three case studies to illustrate the impacts of those drivers of energy infrastructure routes and provide useful context for potential future disputes as North America transitions to clean energy resources.

Dr. Olive concludes that, despite billions of dollars of trade between two allies who share the longest border in the world, barriers to expand their energy trade relationship persist. History, a lack of understanding from either side of the border, unusual US permitting legislation, and unanticipated special interest groups affect existing energy infrastructure links and have the potential to cause future disputes. But, as they have in the past, institutions can evolve through legislative action and court opinions to resolve those conflicts.

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