Full report
Published: 20 April 2021

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition


ROBERTO BOCCA Head of Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure, Member of Executive Committee World Economic Forum

MUQSIT ASHRAF Senior Managing Director and Global Energy Industries Lead, Accenture

STEPHANIE JAMISON Senior Managing Director and Global Utilities Lead, Accenture

This edition marks the 10th anniversary of the Energy Transition Index (ETI). In the past decade, we have witnessed an unprecedented acceleration of the energy transition. Two examples illustrate the point: the growing speed of renewable energy penetration (particularly wind and solar), and the important strides made in energy access. These changes have been facilitated by several factors, among which technological advancement and growing political support stands out. However, extraordinary as this evolution has been, there remain some critical challenges to delivering sustainable and affordable energy while improving access and security.

A year has passed since the world was hit by what became the greatest global health challenge in over a century. The crises generated by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect countries across the world in multiple ways, underscoring key unsolved societal issues. For example, as economic development has stumbled or reversed, the health emergency has exacerbated inequality and hampered efforts to tackle energy poverty. Unilateral approaches adopted by governments in their handling of challenges during the pandemic, from personal protective equipment to the approval and dissemination of vaccines, have also raised concerns about the international community’s ability to come together in coordinated action across countries and sectors. Moreover, uneven compliance to recommended public health measures, driven either by economic reasons or differences in values illustrates the challenges in mobilizing all sections of society in a cohesive response to a shared problem. The latter is critical as we look to take effective collective action on energy transition.

When we published last year’s ETI and discussed its findings, we were only a few months into the pandemic. We talked about how energy systems were subject to compounded disruptions and we wondered what a new normal would look like. Some of the questions raised at that time have been answered, but many important pieces in this complex, evolving puzzle has not yet been put together. The actions we take in the early years of this decade of delivery and action will be critical in ensuring that strong, long-term ambition is supported by concrete, immediate progress. We are eager to see stimulus and recovery packages playing an important role in this journey.

This report discusses the key findings from the Energy Transition Index 2021. For this report, we have made a few changes in the methodology to reflect the rising sense of urgency of climate change, and we have refreshed some of the indicators to use available data more effectively. The ETI supports decision-makers with a transparent fact-base on the progress and gaps in the energy transition, the complexity of that transition, and its interdependence with social, political, environmental, economic and institutional elements. Coming out of a challenging 2020, and based on discussions with key global experts, this edition pays special attention to the climate component. In addition, we address how to improve the robustness and resilience of the transition and how to tackle elements that could derail the successful transformation of our energy systems.

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