Cities like to control their fate, but where the transition to green energy is involved, they remain heavily reliant on national infrastructure. So how do different nations match up?
Yesterday the World Economic Forum published the 2014 edition of its Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report. This report, produced with Accenture, shows which countries are best placed to manage the transition toward a sustainable energy network.
The forum ranked energy networks in 128 countries on three criteria: impact on economic growth, environmental sustainability, and network access and security.
The report highlights some big changes in energy technology and laws over the last five years. These include the US shale gas revolution, Germany's radical plans to decarbonize its economy, and Japan's move to solar power following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. It also makes clear that there is no single way forward:
Each country and region must work with its own resources and constraints. While individual nations have taken significant steps forward, progress at the global level has been slow, and mistakes and miscalculations have been made along the way. Most significantly, nations have struggled to maintain balance in their energy systems, and have been forced to make difficult choices and trade-offs.
Which countries are best placed for this transition? Click the image below to start our slideshow on the report's top 10.
10. Latvia Reduces Its Reliance on Russia
Latvia is the only eastern European country in the top 10. Like most countries in the region, it depends heavily on Russia for its fossil fuel supply. It has mitigated the risk of overdependence by diversifying its energy supply. It now gets 54% of its power from hydroelectric sources and 3% from wind and biomass. It has improved energy efficiency by liberalizing the energy sector and making other regulatory changes.
(Source: Ullisan via Flickr)
— Rich Heap, Community Editor, UBM's Future Cities