The World Economic Forum Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials, with the support of its global community of diverse stakeholders, serves to promote collaborative action and exchange best practices to foster an effective energy transition. The annual benchmarking of energy systems across countries has enabled tracking the speed and direction of their energy transition and identifying opportunities for improvement. The transformation of the energy system over the past decade, although slower than required to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, has been significant. But this hard‑earned momentum now risks being lost, as the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic continues to cause economic and social damage.
The COVID‑19 pandemic is unprecedented in its scale and speed in recent times, and it has the potential to redefine economic, political and social aspects relevant to the energy transition. It has forced society to change and relinquish valuable commodities and freedoms to collectively address this global outbreak. An effect of similar magnitude is required for a successful energy transition. Beyond the uncertainty over its long‑term consequences, it has unleashed cascading effects in real time. Compounded disruptions from the erosion of almost a third of global energy demand, delayed or stalled investments and projects, uncertainties over the employment prospects of millions of energy‑sector workers, in addition to unprecedented oil price volatilities and subsequent geopolitical implications have created a perfect storm for energy markets. The new Earth 2.0 that will emerge after COVID‑19 will be a “new normal”, but many fundamental challenges will still exist. Chief among them is the imperative to collectively work towards an effective and inclusive energy transition.
This report highlights the key findings from the Energy Transition Index (ETI) 2020, part of the World Economic Forum Fostering Effective Energy Transition initiative. The ETI builds on its predecessor, the Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI), establishing fact‑based insights to support decision‑makers in their pursuit of a roadmap for a secure, sustainable, affordable and inclusive future energy system. The ETI does not only benchmark countries on their current energy system performance, but also provides a forward‑looking lens as it measures their readiness for the energy transition. The unforeseen risks uncovered by the current global environment make a strong case for strengthening the energy transition fundamentals – characterized as enablers for energy transition readiness. However, energy systems across countries are unique to local circumstances, the economic structure, socio‑economic priorities, and countries will adopt multiple pathways to pursue an effective energy transition.
Through these efforts, the World Economic Forum encourages the sharing of best practices and the use of its platform for effective public‑private collaboration to facilitate the energy transition process in countries around the world.
Head of Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials,
Member of the Executive Committee,
World Economic Forum