The UK is one of only five countries that have received the AAA energy rating from the World Energy Council

UK fifth best in energy sustainability

The UK has become one of only five countries in the world receiving the AAA rating for secure, affordable and environmentally-friendly energy.

Coming overall fifth out of 129 countries in the World Energy Council's (WEC) energy sustainability index this year, the UK has fallen three places as it has seen “small declines" in the security of supplies and affordability of energy.

Together with Switzerland, the UK is the only country ranking in the top 20 in all three evaluated categories – security, equity and environmental stability of energy supplies.

Only five countries have been awarded the highest, AAA, ranking, as most nations struggle to balance their needs.

All of the best rated countries represent the developed world, relying more on low-carbon sources including renewables and nuclear energy and usually have established energy-efficiency programmes.

Switzerland and Sweden, who both made the Top 5, source only a very small proportion of their electricity from conventional fossil fuels, with the majority of their power coming from nuclear and hydroelectricity. Denmark, which has also been awarded the AAA ranking, gets 35 per cent of its power from other renewables such as wind.

Last year's index ranked the UK as 15th, but under new criteria used this year it would have been second in 2012, falling to fifth this year.

Despite reducing its energy production and seeing increasing prices of petrol and electricity over the year, the UK is still considered a leader in the sector.

The report appreciated UK’s move towards greener technologies, reducing the amount of energy sourced from fossil fuels, which has positive effect on CO2 emissions.

The report concluded the world should invest some £12 to £16.7 trillion in global electricity infrastructure between now and 2050 to meet growing demand and ensure that everyone in the world has access to energy.

Based on interviews with policymakers, including Government ministers and experts from more than 25 countries, the report has called for a closer public-private partnership to overcome energy challenges.

The developing countries should, the report suggested, move straight to sustainable energy supplies to support their development, in case they can mobilise sufficient investment. Brazil and Uruguay, which have relied heavily on hydropower and other renewables, being an example.

The study called for a more pro-active approach to improving energy policies, a less risk-averse approach to energy investments and for help to identify and lower the barriers to investment in developing countries.

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