The Energy Architecture Performance Index 2015:
The EAPI cannot provide all of the answers to what creates a high performing energy system, but it can effectively be used to make fact-based and data-driven comparisons to inform energy transition decisions. The following sections explore the key findings from this year’s EAPI, with a focus on insights derived from the analysis of top performers and major economies.
Economic growth and development
Despite substantial policy efforts worldwide, progress in improving the energy intensity of economies is lagging – especially in emerging economies. Strong performance on the EAPI’s energy intensity indicator is one of the principle differentiators for countries’ overall performance on the economic growth and development sub-index. Energy intensity is a function of energy efficiency, as well as the underlying structure of an economy (with the latter being the dominating factor). Thus, economies dominated by low value-added, high energy-intensity activities score lowest on this indicator. The sample average for gross domestic product (GDP) produced per unit of energy use for advanced economies is $9.64 (score of 0.61), compared to $6.71 (score of 0.39) for emerging and developing economies, and $5.80 for the BRICs: Brazil, the Russian Federation, India and China (score of 0.32).11 Governments serious about energy intensity need to address both energy efficiency (the “numerator” of the energy intensity equation) and economic fundamentals (the “denominator”), through the shift to a post-industrial economy that requires free trade, skilled labour and increased flows of investments.
While advanced economies are gradually moving to a less carbon-intensive energy architecture, for many countries the future is less promising. Despite some progress on the environmental sustainability sub-index for many economies, much more needs to be done for the world to move to a low-carbon energy system. For over one-third of countries on the EAPI (34%), the share of non-carbon sources (including nuclear and biomass) in total primary energy supply remains lower than 10%. For top performers, the share is closer to 40%. Varying efforts to address rising greenhouse gas emissions are particularly visible within the indicator on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity sector: the average emissions for BRICs is 531 grams (g) of CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity produced, compared to 394g for advanced economies. Air pollution remains a challenge in emerging and developing economies as levels of air pollutants increase in conjunction with growing industrialization and urbanization; these countries score 0.57 for levels of PM1012, compared to 0.92 for advanced economies.
Energy access and security
Import dependence is growing across many energy systems, but this is being addressed through increased supply diversity. Of the 125 countries on the EAPI, 67% are net energy importers. The top performers on the energy access and security sub-index demonstrate that import dependence can be addressed both through diversity in the energy mix, and in the number of energy trading partners. This can help mitigate energy supply disruption risks – a point further underlined by recent geopolitical insecurity. Performance on this sub-index also highlights the number of nations struggling to supply their citizens with basic energy needs. Twenty countries provide less than 60% of their citizens with access to electricity, and more than half the population in 29 countries on the EAPI still use solid fuels for cooking – a major challenge to address as the world embarks on the UN’s Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024.