South Africa’s ranking in World Energy Trilemma Index falls

16th April 2024 By: Terence Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

South Africa’s ranking in World Energy Trilemma Index falls

South Africa has fallen to sixty-ninth from sixty-fourth on the World Energy Council’s (WEC’s) latest World Energy Trilemma Index which ranks more than 100 countries against the three key dimensions of energy security, equity and environmental sustainability.

The index is included in the ‘World Energy Trilemma 2024’ report, released on April 16, and which is topped by Denmark and Sweden, with Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the bottom of the standings.

South Africa, which has experienced extreme levels of loadshedding over the past three years, placed below Lebanon in the overall index and ranks eighth in the African regional index, behind Angola and Gabon, and which is led by Mauritius and Egypt.

Titled 'Evolving with Resilience and Justice', the WEC says its latest report exposes profound changes in global energy systems, triggered by what it describes as the world’s first demand-driven energy shock in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and accelerating energy transitions in all regions.

Africa, the report states, is grappling with rising demand, security challenges and a transition towards cleaner energy.

Amid strong population growth and increased urbanisation, energy demand across the continent is expected to rise by 30% between 2020 and 2030.

“Meeting rising demand while ensuring affordability and sustainability is a critical aspect of Africa’s energy security,” the report states.

It adds that Africa stands at a critical juncture between two divergent energy models: the conventional, extractive model of the past and an emergent twin transition to clean energy and digitisation.

The report also cautions that the pursuit of export-driven revenues in several African countries continues to take precedence over the need for universal access, leaving significant segments of the population without modern energy supplies.

However, it describes the emergence of increased private-sector financing and investment as a positive signal, arguing that this trend is being driven by supportive policies, rising demand, cost reductions in renewable energy and access to financing.

The report highlights South Africa’s decision of 2021 to ease licensing requirements on distributed projects, which it says is resulting in a notable surge in renewables projects related to commercial and industrial sectors.

WEC secretary-general Dr Angela Wilkinson confirmed that the World Energy Trilemma framework itself was being redesigned to align with changes under way in the energy sector and to ensure that the tool remained relevant to policymakers.

“This latest edition of the World Energy Trilemma Report demonstrates that how we got ‘here’ won’t get us to ‘there’ when it comes to managing orderly, inclusive and just global energy transitions.

“The future of energy is going to be much more demanding, literally! As we redesign energy for people and planet, we are transforming the World Energy Trilemma framework to extend the practical use of this performance management and pathfinding tool beyond countries to regions and cities,” Wilkinson reported.