US receives mediocre ratings for energy sustainability

The United States is trailing most of Europe in creating a sustainable energy system, according to a report released Tuesday.

The World Energy Trilemma report ranked the U.S. 15th in its latest energy sustainability index, which measures how well a country is balancing its energy demands with environmental concerns. More than 50 policy makers from businesses, governments and think tanks around the world were interviewed to develop the ratings.

The mediocre overall score resulted from the United States’ top score for affordable energy being tempered by its poor energy sustainability marks, where it ranked 86th out of 129 countries. The study was conducted by Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm.

The index seeks to highlight the importance of investment in energy infrastructure and technology for the future energy supply.

“If countries are to improve the sustainability of their energy systems, they must continue to work hard at identifying and successfully implementing balanced and forward looking policies,” said Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of the World Energy Trilemna report.

The study has coined the phrase ‘world energy trilemma’ to illustrate the competing considerations — security needs, affordability and environmental sensitivity — for ensuring that a country’s energy is sustainable.

Switzerland received the index’s highest overall score, with top marks for both its energy performance, the sustainability of its efforts and the fairness of the availability of energy. It scored lower in terms of energy security. Denmark, Sweden, Austria and the United Kingdom and Austria received the next four of the top five rankings, respectively.