* Qatar also leads the global rankings on the economic development and growth component of the ETI, supported by the strong role played by domestic energy sector in the economy
Qatar has topped the Middle East and North Africa region, securing 53rd rank in WEF’s Energy Transition Index 2021.
Qatar also leads the global rankings on the economic development and growth component of the ETI, supported by the strong role played by domestic energy sector in the economy.
However, this also poses challenges that are common to all resource rich countries. As more and more countries embark on their net zero journeys, the demand for medium term demand for fossil fuels is expected to decline, which might create economic growth challenges for resource dependent countries. The dip in oil and gas demand, and resulting price volatilities, during the Covid-19 pandemic are a cogent reminder of the need to diversify the economy to limit exposure to fossil fuels.
Creating a robust enabling environment, backed by a stable long- term roadmap, strong political commitment, investments in low carbon energy value chain, and supporting reskilling of labour, will be critical in this process. Moreover, Qatar can leverage the existing resource base and legacy infrastructure to create opportunities in the new energy landscape - for example by investing in capacity to localise processing and manufacturing of higher value add products in the fossil fuel value chain, and by supporting innovation and infrastructure development for green hydrogen.
The United Arab Emirates secured itself an impressive global top ten rank in 12 indicators of the report Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021, which was released by the World Economic Forum.
In its 10th edition, the report, published in collaboration with Accenture, believes that as countries continue their progress in transitioning to clean energy, it is critical to root the transition in economic, political and social practices to ensure progress is irreversible.
The report draws on insights from the Energy Transition Index (ETI) 2021, which benchmarks 115 countries on the current performance of their energy systems across the three dimensions of the energy triangle: economic development and growth, environmental sustainability, and energy security and access indicators – and their readiness to transition to secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy systems.
This year’s report uses a revised ETI methodology, which takes into account recent changes in the global energy landscape and the increasing urgency of climate change action.
Globally, Sweden (1) leads the ETI for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Norway (2) and Denmark (3).
Regionally, Qatar ranks first, followed by the UAE and Morocco, while Saudi Arabia remains 8th among its Arab neighbours.
Overall, scores in the Middle East and North Africa fell last year but the overall trajectory remains moderately positive. Heavy reliance on oil revenue continues to present challenges to sustainable growth. Diversification of the economy and the energy system can improve prospects. Challenges remain in access and security, with heavy concentration in primary energy sources.
Several countries in the region have set out ambitious renewables targets for 2030.
For this region, WEF noted the coming decade presents opportunities to invest in an energy transition that can unlock significant cross-system benefits.
“As we enter into the decade of action and delivery on climate change, the focus must also encompass speed and resilience of the transition. With the energy transition moving beyond the low hanging fruit, sustained incremental progress will be more challenging due to the evolving landscape of risks to the energy transition,” said Roberto Bocca, head (Energy and Materials) at the World Economic Forum.
The results for 2021 show that 92 out of 115 countries tracked on the ETI increased their aggregate score over the past 10 years, which affirms the positive direction and steady momentum of the global energy transition.
Strong improvements were made on the Environmental Sustainability and Energy Access and Security dimensions. Eight out of the 10 largest economies have pledged net-zero goals by mid-century. The annual global investment in the energy transition surpassed $500bn for the first time in 2020, despite the pandemic.
The number of people without access to electricity has declined to less than 800mn, compared to 1.2bn people 10 years ago (2010).
Increasing renewable energy capacity has in particular helped energy importing countries achieve simultaneous gains on environmental sustainability and energy security.
However, the results also show that only 10% of the countries were able to make steady and consistent gains in their aggregate ETI score over the past decade.
“A resilient and just energy transition that delivers sustainable, timely results will require systemwide transformation, including reimagining how we live and work, power our economies and produce and consume materials,” said Muqsit Ashraf, senior managing director who leads Accenture’s energy practice.