Norway is the top ranked country globally for its ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Energy Architecture Performance Index.

In second place is New Zealand, followed by France and Sweden. Others in the top 10 (in descending order) are Switzerland, Denmark, Colombia, Spain, Costa Rica and Latvia.

The Global Energy Architecture Performance Index was developed by the Forum and Accenture to measure and assess changes underway in the global energy system. It is based on 18 indicators that measure the ability of the energy architecture to promote economic growth and development, environmental sustainability, and energy access and security.

In this second review 124 country energy systems are assessed.

The report states that Norway’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 and high scores across the other dimensions of the energy triangle.

In the case of New Zealand, its energy system is characterized by the diversity of its total primary energy supply, 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.

Some of the general findings from the assessment are that the EU and Nordic countries topping the rankings underline the bearing that economic development has on the performance of an energy system, with their ability to prioritize investment in the development of low carbon economies and address climate change through renewables and energy efficiency.

However, of surprise are the low rankings of Canada (14th) and the U.S. (37th) and while the resource wealth and investments in renewables are driving high scores in energy security, low performance in environmental indicators of both countries remains a key challenge.

Industrializing clusters such as BRICS, ASEAN and developing Asia are, for the most part, characterized by more energy- and emission-intensive economies, as highlighted by the lower average scores for these regions in the relative indicators.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) energy systems are broadly defined by the resource wealth of the region, the prevalence of energy subsidies and energy inefficiency impacting consumption and emissions. However, in sub-Saharan Africa the context is marked by the challenge to access energy.

“Our analysis concludes that there is no single way forward; each country must work with its own resources and constraints, making difficult choices and trade-offs,” said Arthur Hanna, Managing Director, Energy Industry, Accenture, and a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Energy Architecture.

Access the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index 2014 HERE.

By Jonathan Spencer Jones