The World Economic Forum warns the coronavirus pandemic is about to establish a new normal in all aspects and that it could erase recent progress in the switch to renewables and energy efficiency. In an annual report, it called on greater collaboration and a change in the approach to energy. The World Economic Forum placed Slovenia at the highest position in Southeastern Europe in the energy transition index and praised Bulgaria for substantial progress. Serbia and BiH are in the lowest fifth of the global list.
Many fundamental challenges will remain after the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 and the shift to clean energy is under threat, the World Economic Forum said in an annual report. It pointed to the volatility in energy prices, the drop in demand and the risks that socioeconomic costs prompt changes in the strategy for the sector. The World Economic Forum highlighted the improvements concerning the energy transition in 94 out of 115 states on its list but also expressed concern about environmental sustainability.
The goal is a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure energy system responding to global issues and creating value, the authors said. The World Economic Forum has an energy transition methodology that leans on energy access and security, environmental sustainability and economic development and growth.
Decision makers need to address the crisis by rethinking how energy is produced, supplied and consumed and by fostering collaboration, the organization added. It suggested the fall in fuel prices and demand should be used as an opportunity for structural reform and diversification.
Not much change in top ten
The energy transition report shows the ranking of 115 countries. WEF acknowledged 75% of them have advanced in environmental sustainability but also noted the category has the lowest score overall among the three main indicators. Carbon pricing, shutting down coal plants ahead of schedule and redesigning electricity markets to integrate renewable energy sources are the most positive factors.
Sweden is at the top of the energy transition index for the third year in a row with 74.2 points on a scale to 100, though it lost 0.7 points. Switzerland and Finland are next, while Norway slipped from the third to fifth position.
Leading countries phase out coal, limit subsidies and integrate renewables
The composition of the top ten has remained little changed since the list was introduced five years ago. The leading states limit energy subsidies, reduce reliance on imports, make progress in the energy intensity of gross domestic product and raise targets for energy transition and climate change mitigation.
Bulgaria, Montenegro are in world’s top three by improvement
Bulgaria is in the group of eleven countries that “have made consistent and measurable progress” since 2015. Its score, 54.2, puts it at the 61st position. Last year it had 51 points and held the 77th place. In the region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News, Slovenia remained comfortably in the lead, at the 23rd position with 63.1 points. It lost half a point but went one notch higher.
The two countries climbed nine and four points, respectively, on a rounded basis since the introduction of the index. It makes Bulgaria the second-best performer in the whole list, just behind Oman. Slovenia is fifth in the world by human capital and consumer participation and ranks eighth in energy access and security.
Slovenia is fifth in the world by human capital and consumer participation and ranks eighth in energy access and security
Romania took the slot number 35 and Croatia is only two places under it. It is trailed by Cyprus (46), Albania (52) and Greece (59). Montenegro is just one position behind Bulgaria and has the same total score. Turkey, at the 67th position, is also near the average.
Bosnia and Herzegovina fared the worst in Southeastern Europe (SEE) with 43.2 points and the 103rd place out of 115 countries. Serbia is just three positions higher, as it scored 44.3 points. It was 99th last year and BiH has advanced by one notch, according to the World Economic Forum and its energy transition index.
The environmental sustainability grades are similarly poor for both states, presumably due to the use of coal. The energy system’s structure is Serbia’s weakest point, where it is 107th in the world. For BiH it is regulation and political commitment. It landed at position 113.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the worst scores in regulation and political commitment while Serbia’s weakest point is the energy system’s structure
Montenegro added an admirable eight points since 2015, which is the third-best result in the world! Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia improved their scores by four points compared to just one each for Greece, BiH and Romania. Albania and Serbia’s advance in the past five years was neglectable and Turkey dropped two points.
COVID-19 caused perfect storm for energy markets
Roberto Bocca from WEF’s Executive Committee asserted the coronavirus crisis is on track to create a new normal in the world. “Compounded disruptions from the erosion of almost a third of global energy demand, delayed or stalled investments and projects, uncertainties over the employment prospects of millions of energy‑sector workers, in addition to unprecedented oil price volatilities and subsequent geopolitical implications have created a perfect storm for energy markets,” the official in charge of energy and materials stated.
The document’s authors said energy security is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which are becoming stronger and more frequent, and to cyberattacks.