The Energy Trilemma Index Points To Change

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The conversations surrounding COP21 Conference showed that immediate action needs to be taken by the policymakers involved in global climate change negotiations. Many turn to global listings like the Energy Trilemma Index in order to determine where there country ranks. Now in its fifth edition, the World Energy Council’s 2015 Energy Trilemma Index – ranks 130 countries based on its performance in providing:

  • Energy security (a country’s ability to meet its current and predicted energy demand),
  • Energy equity (the accessibility and affordability of energy across the population), and
  • Environmental sustainability (achievement of supply of renewable or low carbon forms of energy).

It also tracks overall improvements across the three dimensions of the energy trilemma.

The latest version of the index shows slow and steady progress for balanced and sustainable energy. There have been improvements during the last five years regarding access to energy, share of renewables in the electricity generation mix, and rate of energy-efficiency.

Some improvements have been more noticeable than others. For instance, the global rate for electricity global has gone up by 85 percent with more than 222 million people having access to electricity from 2010 – 2012. During this period, global energy intensity has been slower (a 4.2 percent decrease), and CO2 emissions have lowered in intensity by 4.5 percent over the last five years.

Success Stories

There have been so many challenges to energy consumption, that only two countries have achieved the coveted AAA mark of excellence from the 2015 Energy Trilemma Index: Switzerland ranked first, and Sweden came in second. In fact, Switzerland was the only country to finish in the top 10 of all three dimensions of the energy trilemma, and was the leader in Environmental Sustainability. The country also has taken the top spot in the Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) 2015, which measures: economic growth and development, environmental sustainability, and energy access and security.

If the COP21 Conference is any indication, there is definitely a need for ambitious climate initiatives, as well as a measurable target for emissions and a target goal for low-carbon energy systems. Progress is slow, but with the right framework and incentives, countries can see bigger gains that will impact a better tomorrow for generations to come.

This post was written by Daniel Bangser, Director of U.S. Investment Promotion for Switzerland Global Enterprise, and was generously supported by Switzerland Global.

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