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Swiss lead the world in energy management

More than half of Switzerland's power comes from hydroelectric sources Keystone

Switzerland has topped a global ranking of energy efficiency, access to resources and environmental sustainability published by the London-based World Energy Council (WEC).

Countries were given letter grades for their performance in three categories: how well they manage their energy supply; how accessible and affordable energy is across the population; and how much of their power is derived from low-carbon renewables.

Only five countries received all As: Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Britain and Spain.

Switzerland was ranked globally first for environmental sustainability (renewables), sixth for energy equity (access) and 19th for energy security (supply management). The overall result was one position better than the 2012 evaluation by the WEC, a group that promotes sustainable power.

Commenting on the result, the WEC said energy security was Switzerland’s weakest point mainly because it imports around half of the energy it uses.

But it added that the country “continues to be the best in the world at limiting its impact on the environment with low levels of pollution and ultra-low emission energy infrastructure.”

The United States ranked 15th and China 78th. China got an A for energy security but Ds for the environment and affordability and equitable access to power. The US was a top scorer in security and supply but earned a C in environmental friendliness.

Austria came in fourth and France tenth, Switzerland’s only neighbours to make into the top ten. Zimbabwe made the worst showing of all 129 countries surveyed.

Transition phase

The report’s authors warned that Switzerland was entering a transition phase with the planned phase-out of nuclear power.

“To achieve the transition to a low-carbon energy system in the long term, in the short term Switzerland is likely to become more dependent on gas-fired electricity generation,” they said.

The report suggests Swiss policymakers focus on the construction of electricity grids, completely liberalise the power market and come to an agreement with the European Union on electricity and renewables.

The report was based on interviews with more than 50 government officials, development banks and international experts from more than 25 countries. It was released three weeks ahead of talks at the World Energy Congress, to be held in Daegu, South Korea.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR