WORLD ENERGY TRILEMMA 2021
This is the second year that the Council has published the World Energy Trilemma Index during the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to threaten health and disrupt the global economy. The Trilemma is an energy policy pathfinding tool that relies upon historic data to assess historic past energy policy performance and, as such, the impact of the pandemic is not yet fully reflected in the data. While further insights into the effect of the pandemic on energy are becoming visible, such as depressed demand and fragmented local recoveries, the longer-term implications for energy systems and transition remain unclear.
National context is critical to how countries develop their different energy policies, based upon their domestic circumstances with varying natural resources, geographies, and socio-economic systems. These differing contexts lead to a divergence of systems that means that there can be no single path for a successful energy transition; instead, each country must determine its own best energy policy pathway with respect to its national situation and priorities. Such diversity means that direct comparisons between the rankings and scores of countries in the Trilemma are less informative, but instead should help provide an opening for a dialogue, with countries learning from and with each other about what policies work in what circumstances and why. The Energy Trilemma Index can help countries and energy stakeholders to prioritise those areas of energy policy to improve most and explore which options might be more appropriate.
This year, 127 countries have been ranked into 101 places, as some have achieved the same scores. The overall top ten ranks for the 2021 Trilemma continue to be dominated by OECD countries, with European countries performing particularly strongly, reiterating the importance of having longstanding active energy policies. The top three ranking countries remain the same as in 2020, with Sweden just overtaking Switzerland to the top spot, and Denmark remaining in third place. All three countries have overall scores of 83 and above. Canada, New Zealand and the United States break the OECD European monopoly.
Since 2000, those countries that have shown the greatest improvement in their Trilemma scores illustrate the critical importance of increasing access and diversifying energy systems. The overall top three improving countries since 2000 are Cambodia, Myanmar and the Dominican Republic that may have low overall ranks but have made significant and sustained efforts to improve their energy systems.