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European energy systems rank among the world’s front-runners
Study by World Energy Council shows how 128 countries fare in terms of security, affordability and environmental compatibility

Nine of the ten “best” national energy systems are located in Europe, with Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark leading the way. The UK ranks fourth, and Germany occupies ninth spot. New Zealand is the only top ten country outside Europe. The ranking is the result of the World Energy Trilemma Index 2019 recently published by the World Energy Council.

Country Trilemma Score
1. Suisse85.8
2. Sweden85.2
3. Denmark84.7
4. United Kingdom81.5
5. Finland81.1
6. France80.8
7. Austria80.7
8. Luxembourg80.4
9. Germany79.4
10. New Zealand79.4

But why the choice of term “Trilemma Index?” The World Energy Council’s definition of a good energy system is one that enables the state to ensure a sustainable supply of energy. And this requires overcoming a triple dilemma: After all, countries are expected to see to it that energy is secure, (energy security), affordable (energy equity) and environmentally compatible (environmental sustainability). These goals can stand in each other’s way, for instance in cases where the lowest-cost energy source produces huge amounts of greenhouse gases. The World Energy Council believes that these objectives must be brought into equilibrium.

The Trilemma Index has been issued by the World Energy Council with the assistance of the Oliver Wyman consultancy since 2010. To this end, the World Energy Council can draw on extensive expertise, as it encompasses some 100 national committees representing over 90 percent of global power production. Members of the national committees include key energy associations, major utilities and grid operators as well as renowned research institutes. The World Energy Council thus unites the who’s who of the energy sector.

The good scores achieved by the European energy systems are based on the fact that they have progressed the farthest in terms of environmental compatibility, a goal with a special weighting within the Index. This relates above all to decarbonisation through the increased use of renewable sources of energy as well as air pollution control. Moreover, many European countries manage to break the vicious circle of increasing energy consumption, increasing economic growth and increasing burdens on the environment. According to the report, however, the progressive expansion of renewable energy could be risky when it comes to energy security and energy equity.

The Trilemma Index is available not just as a report, but also as interactive content. The country ranking, the country and regional profiles and the results can conveniently be accessed on a map of the world.

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