Brunei ranks 49th in 2020 Energy Transition Index

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam is placed 49th out of 115 economies in the 2020 Energy Transition Index, recently released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), down by 10 spots from last year.

In Southeast Asia, the Sultanate ranked third after Singapore (13th) and Malaysia (38th).

The ranking measured countries and territories on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, based on 40 indicators grouped into two sub-indices.

The Sultanate gained an average score of 57 percentage points out of 100, higher than the global average of 55.1.

In terms of system performance that measures the ability of a country’s current energy architecture to deliver across the three imperatives of the energy triangle – economic development growth, energy security and access, and environmental sustainability – Brunei Darussalam scored 66 percentage points, down from 67 in last year’s ranking.

Meanwhile, Vietnam scored 48 per cent in terms of transition readiness that measures the preparedness of a country through six enabling dimensions: energy system structure, regulation and political commitment, capital and investment, human capital and consumer participation, infrastructure and innovative business environment, alongside institutions and governance.

Last year, the Sultanate scored 52 percentage points in transition readiness. Across 115 economies, more people than ever before have access to energy. However, this is offset by reduced affordability and almost no progress in making energy systems environmentally sustainable, the WEF stated, calling for urgent action on the part of policymakers and businesses to safeguard energy development for future generations.

It stated that the continued use of coal for power generation in Asia, increasing commodity prices and slower-than-needed improvements in energy intensity, have contributed to this year’s stagnation in performance.

Sweden topped the ranking for the third consecutive year, followed by Switzerland and Norway.

The report also said that the year 2020 marks the beginning of the ‘decade of delivery’ on
energy transition.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to business as usual, setting off a chain of events disrupting all sectors – including energy. The current status of the energy transition and progress in multi-stakeholder collaboration have been slow to achieve and costly to build, and efforts must be made to ensure the clock is not reset.

Resilience in economic, financial, regulatory and infrastructure terms is a crucial prerequisite for an effective energy transition.

This report presents the findings from the Energy Transition Index (ETI) 2020, summarising insights on countries’ energy system performance and their energy transition readiness. The indicators reflect trends in the global energy transition leading up to 2020.

The circumstances were radically transformed in the first few months of 2020 due to compounded disruptions from COVID-19.

Analysing the drivers of progress in the past can offer lessons for accelerated recovery in the near future. Countries are transforming their energy systems, but the improvements are not consistent across countries or over time.

The report added that of the 115 countries monitored, 94 have improved their composite ETI score over the past six years. These nations represent more than 70 per cent of the global population and 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion.