Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

SA ranked second from the bottom of 114 countries assessed for the current state of their energy system and their readiness to adapt to future energy needs, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Fostering Effective Energy Transition Report effectively benchmarks countries’ capacity to transition from "brown to green" energy.

It ranked countries on their current energy system performance using three factors: energy security and access; environmental sustainability; and potential for inclusive economic growth and development. It also evaluated the extent to which enabling conditions were in place for a transition to a low-carbon economy.

SA scored plumb last for the structure of its energy system. Part of the reason for the low score was that it generated most of its electricity from coal, and very little from renewable sources. It also ranked poorly (95th) for its share of global carbon emissions. It also scored particularly badly on policy stability (91st).

The report found worldwide progress towards environmental sustainability has stalled and that energy prices have risen in real terms in more than half the countries surveyed, despite an overall fall in fuel prices.

"There is an urgent need to speed up the transition towards more sustainable energy production and use, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, greater access to energy and improvements in air quality," said Fatih Birol, executive director, International Energy Agency and co-chair of the WEF Stewardship Board for Shaping the Future of Energy System Initiative. "To do this we will need to harness a broad portfolio of energy technologies and deepen co-operation between governments, industry and civil society stakeholders."

Scandinavian and western European nations led the rankings, with Sweden, Norway and Switzerland taking the top three spots.