The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park Dubai. The latest Energy Transition Index showed the UAE made numerous improvements energy transition. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The UAE has made significant strides in both the current performance of its energy system, as well as the readiness for energy transition, according to the latest edition of World Economic Forum’s (WEFs) Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2020 report.

The WEF report that draws data from Energy Transition Index (ETI) has ranked  the UAE at 63 in the global ranking of 115 countries, improving 4 positions from the previous year's ranking.

The WEF’s ETI is a composite score of 40 indicators that benchmarks 115 countries on the current performance of their energy system, and their readiness for transition to a secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive future energy system.

All round improvement

The report showed the country made numerous improvements in various sub-indicators landing itself a spot among the top ten in several of them.

The UAE performance witnessed an increase of seven-points in the Economic Growth & Development index, and an eight-point increase in the progress in the Capital & Investment index.

Additionally, the Infrastructure & Innovative Business Environment index saw an increase of seven points, allowing the UAE to secure itself a place for among the top 5 globally (landing at 4th place), while the Human Capital & Consumer Participation, saw an increase of a whole 13 points, the Energy Access & Security progressed at a rate of 24 points, bringing the UAE to seventh Worldwide.

The report noted that the progress on economic growth and energy security components remain strong in the UAE. The country leads on the stability of institutions and regulatory framework - which remain critical enablers of energy transition.

According to the report, further improvements can be unlocked through investment in future ready energy infrastructure- such as negative emission technologies, green hydrogen, and smart grids.

Regional rankings

Morocco ranked first among the Arab countries, followed by Qatar, the UAE, and Oman.

Despite landing 8th among its Arab neighbours, Saudi Arabia’s performance saw a significant increase from 98th in last years report to 86th this year. The improvements mainly come from increased levels of capital and investment in energy transition, and a stable policy environment. The Kingdom has initiated ambitious plans to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, prioritization innovation and Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The report draws on insights from Energy Transition Index (ETI) 2020, which benchmarks 115 economies on the current performance of their energy systems – across economic development and growth, environmental sustainability, and energy security and access indicators - and their readiness for transition to secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy systems.

Pandemic risks

The coronavirus pandemic risks cancelling out recent progress in transitioning to clean energy, with unprecedented falls in demand, price volatility and pressure to quickly mitigate socioeconomic costs placing the near-term trajectory of the transition in doubt.

COVID-19 has forced companies across industries to adapt to operational disruption, changes in demand and new ways of working, and governments have introduced economic recovery packages to help mitigate these effects.

“The coronavirus pandemic offers an opportunity to consider unorthodox intervention in the energy markets and global collaboration to support a recovery that accelerates the energy transition once the acute crisis subsides,” said Roberto Bocca, Head of Energy and Materials, World Economic Forum.

“This giant reset grants us the option to launch aggressive, forward-thinking and long-term strategies leading to a diversified, secure and reliable energy system that will ultimately support the future growth of the world economy in a sustainable and equitable way.”

The results for 2020 show that 75 per cent of countries have improved their environmental sustainability, even as the global average score for this dimension remains the lowest of the three categories assessed.

Sweden (1) leads the ETI for the third consecutive year, followed by Switzerland (2) and Finland (3). France (8) and United Kingdom(7) are the only G20 countries in the top 10. However, they share common attributes, such as limiting energy subsidies, reducing reliance on imports (thereby improving energy security), achieving gains in energy intensity