Fundamental transitions in energy systems are underway. Technological advances, more inclusive markets, environmental tradeoffs, and human development imperatives are pushing nations to rethink how they extract and use energy resources. In an effort to measure how well nations are responding to key problems, the World Economic Forum and Accenture developed the Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI). The EAPI scores and ranks countries based on how their energy system addresses three key areas: economic growth and development, environmental sustainability, and energy security and access. The accompanying report provides policymakers with key insights into where their energy systems can be improved.
Scope: Global (125 countries)
First Released: 2013
Intended Audience: Policymakers, researchers, investors
Potential Application: Allow policy-makers to benchmark their policies with the end objective of achieving a transition to the new energy architecture
Developer: World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture
Description: The EAPI is a composite index measuring the performance of global energy systems. The index is split into 18 separate indicators, which are combined to form three subindicies that are then averaged to form each country’s score. These three subindicies are:
There are many clear strengths to the EAPI. First, the index is based on reliable and regular data from renowned institutions such as the World Bank and the International Energy Agency (IEA), and it is reviewed by a panel of experts from academia, government, and industry. Second, the accompanying reports include clear analyses that are strengthened with key examples, expert commentary, and case studies. For example, the 2015 EAPI report provides six country-specific case studies covering policy reform, market signals, and public engagement. County and regional comparisons are also included and offer insight into specific differences and similarities.
Third, periodic reviews of the index demonstrate that the EAPI is capable of evolving into an increasingly relevant set of metrics. Among other adjustments, the 2014 EAPI improves on the 2013 edition by changing the CO2 per capita indicator into CO2 per kWh of electricity produced. This shifted the indicator’s emphasis onto efficiency of energy production and limited skewing effects caused by large populations.
Despite its many merits, the EAPI is not without flaws. First, there seems to be a slight bias toward developing countries, as is exemplified by Ethiopia and Mozambique having very high scores for the environmental sustainability sub index. Second, all the indicators have roughly equivalent weightings toward the final score. While subjectivity should be avoided where possible, the EAPI can do more to either reevaluate the relative significance of each indicator or argue for their equivalence. Third, to ensure that the EAPI continues to be a trustworthy source of information, the report should clarify inherent biases within the data.
For example, the EAPI uses primary energy statistics from the IEA, which employs an accounting method that discriminates against nuclear generated electricity and gives an advantage to hydroelectricity. While major changes in rankings are unlikely given a change in the accounting method used, a jump or fall for some countries is certainly possible. Though eliminating all sources of prejudice from the EAPI would be impossible, more can be done to communicate potential biases to users.
Backed by the World Economic Forum, the EAPI has garnered much attention and has just published its 2015 report. While this latest report shares rather pessimistic findings--on the whole, counties have not improved in mitigating environmental damages in line with ecological limitations--the research and analyses it provides are a crucial component to the transition to a more sustainable energy system.