(NaturalNews) "The Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2014" was released last month by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture. The publication evaluates 124 countries based on the energy triangle, involving energy security performance, environmental sustainability and economic growth. Among 18 other indicators, the report shows which countries are best positioned to move to more sustainable energy systems, while also balancing the trade-offs such as the cost of energy.
The countries that scored best were mostly EU and OECD nations, including Norway, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Latvia and Spain. A couple of exceptions that made it into the top 10 were Colombia and Costa Rica. The latter showed the most promising results, placing itself as the world leader in renewable energy. The country gets 52% of its total primary energy supply from renewable sources and an impressive 99% of its electricity output from renewables. The current transformation that Costa Rica's energy sector is undergoing puts it well on the way of becoming the first carbon-neutral country in the world.
U.S. and Canada evaluation
The report states that the U.S. and Canada rank well in economic growth and development as well as energy security indicators. However, "both countries receive their lowest performance in the environmental sustainability dimension of the energy triangle." Both economies need to address the increasing pressure of mitigating the environmental impact of their energy sectors, the report advises.
The high ranking of the EU and Nordic countries shows how service-sector economies are able to prioritize investment when it comes to development of low-carbon energy programs, as well as to address environmental issues through renewable energy sources. The trade-off for such a highly sustainable approach, however, is energy affordability, as shown by European policy debates and consumer dissatisfaction with pricing. Very few countries have scored well on all three sides of the energy triangle, indicating the nations' struggles to balance energy security, sustainability and affordability, and the trade-offs that have to be made in the process.
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