The following sections discuss the findings of the EAPI for the top 10 performers globally, as well as the comparative performance of countries within key regions.
The top 10 performers across the index are mostly European and/or OECD nations – Norway, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain and Latvia – with the exception of Colombia (7th) and Costa Rica (9th).
Although these countries share the highest performances globally, the top 10 shows that there is no single transition pathway. Each country’s performance is shaped by its specific natural resource endowment, boundary constraints and political decisions. While these countries achieve the highest scores of those studied, no single country achieves a top score of 1/1 for the index overall, and no country achieves top performance in any of the three dimensions.
The section below provides an overview of the top performers and the key drivers behind their success.
1. Norway – 0.75
With a score of 0.75 over 1, Norway is the top performer across the index. The country’s success arises mainly from two factors: its vast natural resource endowment and its focus on developing renewable, sustainable energy. These strengths contribute to delivering the highest performance in energy security and access (0.96) and high scores across the other dimensions of the energy triangle. Norway’s considerable North Sea offshore assets make it the third largest exporter of energy in the world, after Russia and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Norway has placed great emphasis on furthering its environmental sustainability, setting itself the ambitious target of reducing its 1990 levels of global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020, and to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Through the roll-out of a number of sound policies, Norway has made great strides towards a low-carbon economy with virtually all its electricity supply coming from hydro, and efficiency measures in public and private buildings. The wealth accumulated from its petroleum revenue positions Norway well to invest in developing new solutions for a low carbon future.
2. New Zealand – 0.73
New Zealand’s energy system is characterized by the diversity of its total primary energy supply (TPES), the development of renewable energy sources and a liberalized energy market that has delivered a relatively high level of energy security alongside economic prosperity for consumers. These factors combine to afford New Zealand high scores across the energy triangle. The New Zealand Energy Strategy, published following a government review in 2010, set the path towards improving the energy system by establishing clear long-term policy priorities and energy-savings goals for the country. Among them is the ambition to increase the contribution of renewables to electricity generation from the current 70% of output to 90% by 2025. Although hydro contributes the largest share of installed renewable capacity, New Zealand seeks a wider portfolio of renewables with greater capacity in geothermal and, increasingly, in wind. As the country strives to achieve its ambition in the power-generating sector, it may face challenges of integrating these sources into the national grid.
3. France – 0.72
Energy policy in France has focused on balancing environmentally sustainable energy production, affordability of energy and the competitiveness of its industry. To achieve this balance, France has had a long-standing commitment to establishing and developing its nuclear generating capacity. Currently, nuclear contributes to over 45% of France’s TPES, and 75% of total power-generating capacity.8 While nuclear power is virtually emissions free, nuclear waste and radioactive materials create significant environmental challenges. France has been at the forefront of addressing these concerns through an independent Nuclear Safety Authority and by creating a comprehensive framework for managing radioactive waste and materials. However, the energy transition debate in France is shifting towards reducing the contribution of nuclear to 50% of power generation by 2025, with plans to diversify into renewable energy sources. Additionally, France has indicated additional focus on energy efficiency improvements and increased investment in this space through fiscal disincentives for fossil fuel consumption as part of its energy strategy from 2014. 9
4. Sweden – 0.72
Sweden is the fourth highest performer across the EAPI, receiving its best score in the environmental sustainability dimension, ranking in second place after France. Sweden’s energy sector is defined by its nuclear generating capacity, and a policy and investment focus on renewable energy sources, both in power generation and in the transportation sector. In the 1980s, the Swedish government stated its intent to decommission existing nuclear capacity. However, this policy was repealed in 2010, and there are now life-extension and reactor expansions underway. Nevertheless, Sweden imposes high taxes on nuclear power. In 2009, Sweden’s Climate and Energy Policy outlined the goals of a fossil-fuel independent vehicle fleet by 2030, and net zero GHG emissions by 2050. The policy framework to support the realization of these targets is in part driven by overarching EU energy policies, and partly specific to Sweden’s goals. For example, Sweden leads the way in transport, with a blend of fiscal incentives for the purchase of flexible fuel vehicles and congestion charge systems in urban centres.
5. Switzerland – 0.72
As is the case for France and Sweden, Switzerland’s performance across the energy triangle is largely a result of the prevalence of nuclear generating capacity which contributes to low-carbon, affordable energy. However, in 2011, Switzerland’s Federal Council launched its Energy 2050 strategy that involves both the gradual phasing out of nuclear power and the aggressive target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by one-fifth by 2020. 10 Although hydropower is the largest contributor to the country’s electricity output, in the absence of nuclear power Switzerland is likely to face challenges in maintaining electricity capacity. The interconnectedness of the Swiss energy market with EU markets will be a powerful tool in addressing these capacity challenges. Moreover, policies outlined in the 2050 strategy document focus on energy efficiency and further deployment of renewable energy. The next years will be important for Switzerland’s transition, as the country drives to replace its nuclear base while balancing the imperatives of the energy triangle. Switzerland is driving efficiency and financing further decarbonization efforts through a CO2 tax on space heating.
6. Denmark – 0.71
Ranking sixth on the overall index, Denmark is the best EU performer in the economic growth and development and energy security dimensions. In recent years, Denmark has rolled out a number of policies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change with the long-term energy objective of becoming completely independent of fossil fuel consumption by 2050. In its Energy Strategy 2050, the government published this long-term vision, as well as set out a series of energy-policy initiatives addressing renewables, efficiency and climate change. The key goal of the strategy is to transform Denmark into a low-carbon society with a stable and affordable energy supply, independent of both its own declining fossil fuel reserves and fossil fuel imports. The first phase of the strategy will focus on policy initiatives and investment frameworks to improve energy efficiency and to increase installed renewable energy capacity. In its later phases, the strategy will seek to reduce fossil-fuel dependence further and improve the integration of renewables in the energy grid through the promotion of smart grid solutions and the development of a low-carbon transportation sector.
7. Colombia – 0.70
Colombia’s position on the index is largely driven by the transformation of its oil and gas sector over recent years. Following steady decline in hydrocarbon production to 2008, Colombia has seen a dramatic increase in production as a result of successful policy reform promoting new investment in exploration and development of its fields. This affects the country’s performance on energy security and on economic growth and development, with production making Colombia self-sufficient in natural gas and generating revenue from exporting gas to neighbouring Venezuela. However, this surge in hydrocarbon output also has a negative impact on the country’s environmental sustainability score, with Colombia achieving the lowest score in this dimension compared to the other top 10 performers in the index – 0.50 compared to the average of 0.63 for the other top 10 countries. Additionally, Colombia performs worse among its top 10 peers for access to modern electricity and percentage of population using solid fuels for cooking, with a 97% access rate and 14% of the population relying on solid cooking fuels. In view of its increased revenues and availability of natural resources, Colombia needs to develop its electricity grid to bring access to rural populations that are the most affected by these indicators.
8. Spain – 0.67
Spain is the fifth largest energy consumer in Europe and, thanks to recent investment in wind and solar power, one of the region’s largest producers of electricity from renewables. Despite its drive for renewables, Spain remains a large consumer of fossil fuels, with virtually no domestic resources. However, government regulation that limits the percentage of total oil and gas imports any single country may sell to Spain ensures its diversity of supply. This diversification policy is aided by the country’s large liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification capacity and Spain’s location close to North African exporters such as Algeria, which provides natural gas to the country through the undersea Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline. Alongside the diversity of its import base, Spain has pursued policies to increase power generation from renewables, generating a significant amount of power from wind energy, the second most in Europe behind Germany. The sizeable investment and incentive framework for renewables, coupled with the economic downturn of 2008-2010, is increasing the challenge of maintaining the competitiveness of Spain’s power-generating sector and the affordability of energy for consumers. Addressing the impact of changes in the regulatory framework for subsidies and investment into renewable energy are key areas for the country to address.
9. Costa Rica – 0.67
Costa Rica, ranked in 9th place, is along with Colombia one of only two upper middle-income countries11 to rank within the top 10 in the EAPI. Costa Rica has established itself as a world leader in renewable energy, with considerable investment in developing and expanding renewable energy capacity, especially wind power. Costa Rica achieves 52% of its TPES from renewables, with over 99% of electricity output produced by renewable energy sources, predominantly hydro. In recent years, Costa Rica has sought to diversify across renewable technologies in a bid to mitigate the risks of energy security challenges in years with reduced rainfall. The overarching government strategy driving the transformation of Costa Rica’s energy system has the goal of making Costa Rica the world’s first carbon neutral country. As policies continue to focus on expanding installed power-generating capacity from renewables, Costa Rica has the potential to progress towards its goal by addressing fossil fuel consumption and emissions in its transportation sector as the country is, together with Colombia, the lowest performer across the top 10 in fuel economy of passenger vehicles, with a score of 0.4 against the top 10 average (excluding Costa Rica and Colombia) of 0.7.
10. Latvia – 0.66
Latvia is the only EU11 country – an EU grouping consisting of Eastern European countries – to rank within the top 10. The success of the country’s energy system is largely driven by the decline in the overall energy intensity of the economy, having fallen from US$ 5/kgoe in 2001 to just under US$ 9 in 2011. This has been driven by reforms such as liberalization of the energy sector and targeted initiatives for improvements in energy efficiency. Affordability of energy relative to the low taxation benchmark of the index12 is also a key high performance indicator for Latvia, affording the country an average score of 0.91 for fuel pricing in line with minimal taxation. In terms of energy security, like most Eastern European countries, Latvia is almost entirely dependent on Russia for its fossil fuel supply. To mitigate the risks of over-dependence on a single supplier, Latvia has diversified its electricity sector to derive 54% of power from hydro and another 3% from wind and biomass. To further reduce its dependency, Latvia is also participating in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP), to increase and improve inter-country connections in the Baltic region.
Table 2: EAPI Global Rankings
|Country / Economy||Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI 2014)||Economic Growth and Development Basket||Environmental Sustainability Basket||Energy Access and Security Basket|
|Egypt, Arab Rep.||0.46||81||0.24||0.43||0.71|
|United Arab Emirates||0.44||88||0.35||0.21||0.77|
|Trinidad and Tobago||0.44||94||0.42||0.22||0.68|
|Iran, Islamic Rep.||0.42||102||0.25||0.25||0.76|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||0.42||104||0.34||0.24||0.68|
|Syrian Arab Republic||0.41||108||0.27||0.27||0.69|
|Republic of Moldova||0.40||110||0.31||0.28||0.60|