The world's progress on transitioning to sustainable energy has stalled. Here’s how to fix it.

The impact.

More people than ever before have access to energy globally. But this impressive progress on accessibility is masking a far wider global failure: our ability to transition to secure, affordable and sustainable energy.

In fact, the world’s energy systems have become less affordable and are no more environmentally sustainable than they were five years ago – that’s according to our most recent Fostering Effective Energy Transition report, released in March 2019.

The report is part of our System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Energy – summarizing insights from the Energy Transition Index in an effort to assist the world in readiness for energy transition. These latest findings have prompted our call for urgent action on the part of policy-makers and business to safeguard energy development for future generations.

World Map Energy Transition Index 2019

What’s the challenge?

The global energy system, driven by factors such as rising demand, technological innovation, geopolitical shifts and environmental concerns, is undergoing a pivotal transformation. While energy systems have always been in transition, the current energy evolution is unprecedented due to the modern energy system’s scale.

While access to energy has substantially improved, with fewer than 1 billion people living without access to electricity, concerns over affordability and equity of energy transition are increasing.

Affordability is emerging as a growing concern, particularly in advanced economies, as the gap between household and wholesale electricity prices widens. Results also show that energy transition in the world’s largest emitters has stalled in the past year.

There is an urgent need for swift action on energy transition. Critical measures to accelerate energy transition include decoupling economic growth from energy consumption, particularly in emerging economies, mainstreaming breakthrough technological innovations to improve efficiency and sustainability, and addressing equity and justice in energy transition.

Given the interconnectedness of the energy system through economic, social and political systems, there is now a critical need for stakeholder groups to work together on crucial priorities for energy transition.

“We need a future where energy is affordable, sustainable and accessible to all. Solid progress in bringing energy within the reach of more and more people is not enough to mask wider failures, which are already having an impact on our climate and on our societies. Urgent action is needed now to accelerate transition that works for business, consumers and our environment.”

Roberto Bocca, Head of Future of Energy and Materials, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum

Our approach.

The Fostering Effective Energy Transition report collates and summarizes insights from the Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks 115 countries on the current level of their energy system performance and the readiness of their macro environment for transition to a secure, sustainable, affordable and inclusive future energy system.

Our fact-based framework and rankings enable policy-makers and businesses to identify the necessary processes for energy transition and align policy- and market-enablers accordingly.

Our reports and research establish an evidence base rich with insights that enable decision‑makers to benchmark against global peers, learn from best practices and prioritize necessary actions to support and encourage an effective energy transition in their own countries.

Further, our work highlights the sheer complexity of the energy transition in an effort to accurately communicate the true scale of the challenge.

Fostering Effective Energy Transition Report, 2019

How can you get involved?

Accelerating energy transition will require faster progress on all fronts and no one stakeholder group can achieve faster and more impactful progress alone. You are invited to join the Forum’s mission on improving the state of the world by partnering with our System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Energy.

Globally, energy transition has slowed. Now is the time for companies globally to work together with multiple stakeholders and safeguard energy development for future generations.

Already a Member or Partner of the World Economic Forum?

Find out more on TopLink.

Engage with the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Energy.

Help us improve the state of the world.