Denmark takes second spot and gets AAA score in World Energy Council energy sustainability ranking

Date: 24 April 2014

Denmark ranks second globally and achieves AAA rating in its ability to balance the ‘energy trilemma’. This according to the annual Energy Sustainability Index produced by the World Energy Council (WEC).

The ranking by the WEC, a UN-accredited global energy body, assesses 129 countries on their ability to meet the triple challenge of the energy trilemma: energy security, energy equity (affordability and access), and environmental sustainability.

The Energy Sustainability Index is the world’s most comprehensive ranking of countries on their energy sustainability performance and forms a key part of the WEC’s annual World Energy Trilemma study.

“The rankings reveal most countries struggle to balance their energy goals, with Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom being the only countries having achieved ‘AAA’ ratings under our study’s scorecard system,” said Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the World Energy Trilemma study.

“Our study finds that the crucial difference in how well countries perform is the quality of their policy framework, although richer countries overall tend to do better. But even those countries vary: developed countries with higher shares of energy from low-carbon sources supported by well establish energy efficiency programmes outperform most countries across all three dimensions of the energy trilemma.”

The Danish approach
The latest WEC index, launched globally in September 2013, shows that Denmark improved its performance on all three energy trilemma dimensions, having moved up three places from its 2012 position.

By focusing on low-carbon energy sources and energy efficiency, Denmark has shown how it is possible to improve performance and move up the world rankings,” Ms MacNaughton said. “The ambitions in Denmark’s 2012 Energy Agreement provide a sound platform for further improvement in the future.”

For Denmark, energy equity, the least strong of the three energy dimensions, has improved across the board as energy becomes more affordable in the country. Energy security remains the country’s strongest energy dimension. Despite a decline in oil stocks, continued efforts to enhance the diversity of the electricity generation portfolio should help the country meet its future energy demand. Continued efforts to minimise the country’s impact on the environment also pay off as energy and emission intensity improve.

Hans Hvidtfeldt Larsen, Chair of the WEC’s Danish national committee, said: “The WEC’s sustainability index contributes to the national energy debate and provides a good basis for comparing the effects of various energy policies in different countries of the world. Today’s event has proved very useful in this regard. Now we must see if we can manage to move Denmark up to the first place through our forward-thinking energy policy, based on the opportunities and challenges we have in our country.”

WEC’s advice for world decision makers
The World Energy Trilemma study has also issued a 10-point action plan for how governments, industry, and key decision-makers should refocus their efforts and resources to achieve real progress in resolving the energy trilemma.

“Governments face a daunting challenge to deliver secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy services. How well they meet this challenge has a fundamental bearing on the social and economic prospects of their countries,” said Joan MacNaughton and continued: “If countries are to improve the sustainability of their energy systems, they must continue to work hard at identifying and successfully implementing balanced and forward-looking policies,” she said. “A more sophisticated and proactive partnership with the private sector is fundamental to driving the higher level of energy investment now required.”

In conclusion she added: “Our analysis provides the basis for countries to assess their political and institutional risk, and describes how they can mitigate such risk and unlock investment to deliver an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.”

The next edition of the World Energy Trilemma report will be released in October 2014.

The World Energy Council report, “World Energy Trilemma: Time to get real – the case for sustainable energy investment”, including the complete Energy Sustainability Index and an executive summary, is available to download free of charge at www.worldenergy.org/publications

Source: World Energy Council