UK’s ‘triple-A’ energy score downgraded due to capacity challenges

The UK’s rating in the World Energy Council’s (WEC) annual Energy Trilemma Index has been downgraded from AAA to AAB.

The Index, released today, measures how well the world’s nations balance energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability, ranking countries from highest (AAA) to lowest (DDD).

In addition, a number of countries are placed on a ‘watch list’ due to energy systems in transition or “unscheduled events that… may lead to a change in Index performance in the near future”, the WEC states.  

While the UK maintained a stable position on its energy security score in 2015, the WEC said tightening capacity margins mean the nation “continues to face significant challenges” in securing its future energy supply, with the result that it remains on the negative watch list.

Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the study, said: “If the UK is to remain ahead of the pack, and regain its ‘triple A’ positioning, the government must give more predictability to investors in the way the electricity market reforms are progressed. More transparency is needed about the future approach to contracts for difference and the levy control framework.” (See: Policy tinkering sees financial lure of UK renewables sector plummet)

Other countries on the watch list include Germany, Japan, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Serbia, the UAE and the US. South Africa was newly added this year due to its electricity crisis, as was the US due to a lack of investment in aging infrastructure and exposure to extreme weather events.

The top-scoring country in the Index is Switzerland, which maintains its lead from 2014 although the WEC noted that its decision to stop building new nuclear power plants, and an upcoming referendum on phasing out nuclear altogether, “are likely to have a strong impact on the country’s energy sustainability balance”.

Switzerland is followed by Sweden, Norway, the UK, Austria and Denmark in the top slots. The lowest-scoring country is Benin in 130th place, with Senegal, Lebanon, Moldova and Yemen joining it at the bottom. 2014’s lowest-scoring country, Zimbabwe, has moved up five slots due to “continued efforts to improve its energy security, energy access and environmental footprint”, with the WEC noting that “progress can be seen in the diversification of the generation portfolio, the energy production to consumption ratio as well as a lower dependence on energy imports”.

See the full Index here.


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