The UK has slipped down the Energy Sustainability Index ranking, with the country’s uncertainty surrounding green policies being one of the main reasons for the decline. Charlotte Reid has been looking at the report.
A report from the World Energy Council (WEC) shows that the UK has slipped to 14th in the 2011 Energy Sustainability Index ranking, after being ranked 8th in 2010.
The annual review of 92 countries looks at the way governments deal with energy supply security, access to energy and the environmental impact of it. The WEC calls this the “energy trilemma”.
The UK’s results have declined in all three areas in the past year, with energy security the biggest faller, dropping from 22nd to 58th, putting the UK behind countries like Nigeria and Albania for that field.
The country’s drop in the table has been put down to a lack of detail in green policies, such as the Electricity Market Reform (ERM) programme, which includes introducing a carbon floor tax and carbon emissions standards for coal plants, but is unlikely to be finalised until 2013.
Recently, there have been cuts to subsidies for renewable energy, with major changes to the Feed-in Tariff, a scheme that encouraged more homeowners to buy solar panels for their roofs. This could have an impact on the UK’s ranking next year.
Talking to BusinessGreen Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of WEC’s policy assessment group, said, “It will be interesting to see what happens next year, because there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment in UK policy“.
Switzerland topped the list, with Sweden, France, Germany and Canada all performing well at balancing the WEC’s three energy categories.
Mark Robson, partner of the global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, who helped to produce the report said, “Our index shows clearly that even countries with abundant energy resources, wealth and political stability struggle to provide stable, affordable and environmentally sensitive energy.
“The countries that tend to be the best at balancing the resulting trade-offs between these interests are those that have diversified their energy resources and actively manage demand for energy through well-established energy-efficiency programmes.”
It is disappointing for the 6th largest economy in the world to come 14th in any league table. If this government wishes to be the greenest ever it may need to reassess some of its current priorities.