Canada’s performance in sustainable energy, according to the World Energy Council

The World Energy Council is an organization which represents the entire energy spectrum, with more than 3000 member organisations located in over 90 countries and drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy-related stakeholders. Its reports attract more than passing attention.

Its 2013 World Energy Trilemma report may attract more than passing attention in Ottawa. The report includes the WECs Energy Sustainability Index, an index that ranks countries in terms of their ability to provide a secure, affordable, and environmentally-sustainable energy system. The top five countries in this composite index are Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and the United Kingdom. In sixth place: Canada. In 15th place: the United States. Canada scored very high on energy security and energy equity but fell behind on environmental sustainability, where we were 60th out of 129 countries. The United States was in 86th place on that same sub-index.

More important than an index of countries may be the report’s main conclusions. GallonDaily summarizes these as:

  • To make sustainable energy systems a reality, energy executives must be more proactive in sharing their knowledge, insights, and experiences with policymakers and regulators.
  • The private sector [should] play a lead role in the technology development and innovation that will reduce the cost of energy and enable countries to lower their carbon emissions.
  • Today, 17% of the global population is without access to electricity and 41% lacks access to clean cooking facilities, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, and South-Eastern Asia. First, the energy industry and also other investors should engage in dialogue with public stakeholders to identify and lower the barriers impeding investment. Second, the energy industry needs to be more proactive in assisting developing countries with adopting proven technologies, in part by working with them to explore ways to reduce the cost of technology transfer.
  • Creating a master plan to achieve diversified, and therefore sustainable, energy systems worldwide may take years to get right, especially given recent dramatic shifts in energy supply and the lack of a global agreement on the target profile of a future energy system. All public and private stakeholders should start down the path now. Too much is at stake for them to hold back. The investment required will take decades to fully transform energy systems and infrastructure. A start needs to be made immediately if sustainable energy systems are to be developed at an affordable cost. It is time to cut through the present uncertainty and to translate the consensus identified into actions on the ground.

Subtitled Time to get real – the case for sustainable energy investment, this 109 page report should be required reading for all involved in the energy business around the world. It can be found by following the link at http://www.worldenergy.org/publications/2013/world-energy-trilemma-2013

By the way, in case it is not yet obvious, the WEC defines trilemma as the triple challenge of finding solutions that support secure, affordable, and environmentally-sensitive energy.

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