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Posted on Dec 11, 05:31PM | IBNS
High-income countries are leading the transition to a new energy architecture but still have work to do on environmental sustainability, according to the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2013, released on Tuesday by the World Economic Forum.
The index measures the strengths and weaknesses of countries' energy systems from an integrated economic, environmental and energy security perspective.
It is also designed to help countries manage and navigate the challenges that arise from this period of change which, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), will require USUSD 38 trillion of investment in energy supply infrastructure by 2035 to meet rising global demand.
The findings reveal that high-income countries have proven best at managing the transition to a new energy architecture. Norway ranks in first place in the index, where a strong energy policy coupled with multiple energy resources has delivered cheap, plentiful and relatively clean power and generated large national revenues.
With seven other European countries joining Norway in the top 10, the list is completed by New Zealand (5) and Colombia (6). No OPEC country features in the top 50, while the USA ranks 55th. Of the BRICS, Brazil leads in 21st place, followed by the Russian Federation (27), South Africa (59), India (62) and China (74).
However, the index also finds that high-income and rapidly growing countries alike often underperform across a wide range of environmental sustainability metrics. With demand for energy rapidly increasing at the same time as some nations are reconsidering costly renewable obligations and CO2 targets, the report calls for affirmative action to address this.
"Energy decisions can be simplified through a common understanding of the trade-offs they require," explained Roberto Bocca, Senior Director, Head of Energy Industries, World Economic Forum.
"With clear objectives to achieve a balanced energy system that is environmentally sustainable, drives the economy and is secure, decision-makers should facilitate quicker and more cost effective transitions. The index is a tool to help in this process."
The report, produced in collaboration with Accenture, adds that many developing countries still struggle to supply citizens with basic energy needs, with 12pc of countries analysed providing electricity to less than 50pc of their total population.
The report also considers how issues around fossil-fuel subsidy, water use for energy production and effective management of resource wealth need addressing globally.
"The scale and complexity of the global energy industry demands a country-by-country approach to managing change," said Arthur Hanna, Managing Director, Energy Industry, Accenture, and a Member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on New Energy Architecture.
"The Energy Architecture Performance Index helps nations take stock of their energy architecture challenges and identify specific focus areas coupled with best-in-class examples to use when managing their transition."