VIEWS: Actioning the Trilemma Vision

15th October 2019


Congress Call to Action: Ministers vote on actioning new energy visions using the improved Energy Trilemma

AUTHOR: Sir Philip Lowe, Executive Chair of the Energy Trilemma and Martin Young, Director of Policy & Risk, World Energy Council

The Energy Trilemma provides an objective framework to assess energy policy performance across the three dimensions of security, equity and sustainability. Historically, the Trilemma has been presented as a comparative ranking to be a conversation starter but this year we introduced indexation to enable tracking of energy policy performance since 2000.

Energy Trilemma panel discussion

As part of the launch for the 2019 Energy Trilemma at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, we held a private interactive Ministerial Roundtable to provide an opportunity for a richer discussion under the Chatham House Rule.  The Roundtable session enabled ministers to see a detailed overview of the 2019 Trilemma results, participate in table discussions about policy priorities for the energy transition and included a couple of audience votes with some interesting insights.

The first poll asked the Ministers about the key policy priority for their country’s energy transition. The overall results are shown below and illustrate the on-going importance of affordability and equity. While there will be regional or national nuances, this is an interesting result. Access to affordable energy is a key driver for the developing world while ensuring that energy remains universally affordable is becoming an ever more important driver for the developed world. The Trilemma framework also illustrates that progressing the key policy priority does not have to be to the detriment of other policy goals and that is possible to build capacity / capability more broadly.

energy transition priorities

The second poll asked Ministers where their country could get the greatest value from using the Trilemma framework.  The result supports our goal for the Trilemma that while the tool is an international benchmarking framework, the real value comes from using it as a platform to inform an ongoing dialogue about improving energy policy.

best value from Trilemma

The Energy Trilemma is part of the Council’s practical Insight Toolkit that aim to help the energy community to navigate the wider global context of the transition and fast shifting innovation landscape. The Council will run similar events using differing combinations of the Insight Tools to help the Council’s global energy community to navigate the energy transition.


The 2019 World Energy Trilemma Index Report, developed in partnership with Oliver Wyman, provides an objective rating of national energy system performance across the three Trilemma dimensions. The Index demonstrates the impact of varying policy pathways countries have taken in each of the dimensions over the past 20 years. 

Read here

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