Middle East energy efficiency ranking 'to rise'

wind-energyTunisia is the highest ranked Arab country on the index, followed by Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. (Image source: Petr Kovar/sxc.hu)Significant renewable energy projects in the GCC will boost the Middle East’s energy efficiency ranking, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum

The report - Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2013 - highlighted that high-income countries are leading the transition to a new energy architecture.

The study measured the strengths and weaknesses of countries’ energy systems from an integrated economic, environmental and energy security perspective, and was designed to help countries navigate challenges that may arise.

According to the International Energy Agency, US$38 trillion of investment in energy supply infrastructure will be required by 2035 to meet rising global demand.

The findings, produced in collaboration with management consultancy, Accenture, revealed that high-income countries have proven best at managing the transition to a new energy architecture.

Norway ranks in first place in the index, where a strong energy policy coupled with multiple energy resources has delivered cheap, plentiful and relatively clean power and generated large national revenues.

While no OPEC country features in top 50, Tunisia is the highest ranked Arab country on the index, followed by Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The list is completed by New Zealand (5) and Colombia (6), while the US ranks 55th. Brazil is in 21st place, followed by the Russian Federation (27), South Africa (59), India (62) and China (74).

"The index is a global benchmark for the Middle East region to aim for, and many Gulf countries are already taking positive and ambitious steps to address their future energy needs," said Omar Boulos, managing director of Accenture, Middle East.

“Whilst the Middle East countries did not rank highly in this report, I expect this to change in future index reports. Governments and private companies across the region are investing billions of dollars in energy infrastructure and they have declared very real commitments to addressing the challenges of energy supply, particularly in terms of renewable energy.

“For instance, Masdar’s 100MW Shams 1 CSP plant in Abu Dhabi is due to open this month, and plans are underway for the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. In Saudi Arabia, the government recently announced it would invest US$109bn to install 41GW of solar and 9 GW of wind capacity by 2032.”

Boulos added that at the recent World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, there were over 30 renewable energy projects worth US$8bn seeking funding, including a US$3mn 250KW solar project in the UAE and a US$280mn 65-130MW solar project in Jordan.

"It is extremely encouraging to see a region that is so reliant on fossil fuels for their income take such affirmative action to join the global community’s collective response to the challenges of high energy demand," said Boulos. "This index, which Accenture helped to produce, clearly shows the benchmark standards that countries in the Middle East need to achieve."

According to Roberto Bocca, senior director, and head of Energy Industries at the World Economic Forum, said, "With clear objectives to achieve a balanced energy system that is environmentally sustainable, drives the economy and is secure, decision-makers should facilitate quicker and more cost effective transitions. The index is a tool to help in this process."

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