Germany comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed by Italy, the European Union as a whole, China, and France, according to the 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New to the rankings this year are four nations: India, Mexico, South Korea, and Spain.
Now in its second edition, the ACEEE report (available online at http://aceee.org/portal/national-policy/international-scorecard) finds that, while some countries are still significantly outperforming others, there are substantial opportunities for improved energy efficiency in all economies analyzed, including the U.S., which ranked 13th out of 16 nations - behind countries such as China, Canada, and India. The new carbon pollution standards for existing power plants proposed this June by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be a major stride in the direction of greater energy efficiency in the U.S. There are dozens of other international best practices that the U.S. could implement to improve its score.
The rankings are modeled on ACEEE's time-tested approach to energy efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 16 of the world's largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. These 16 economies represent over 81 percent of global gross domestic product and 71 percent of global energy consumption.
On a scale of 100 possible points in 31 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: (1) Germany; (2) Italy; (3) the European Union; (tied for 4) China; (tied for 4) France; (tied for 6) Japan; (tied for 6) United Kingdom; (8) Spain; (9) Canada; (10) Australia; (11) India; (12) South Korea; (13) United States; (14) Russia; (15) Brazil; and (16) Mexico.
ACEEE divided the 31 metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors primarily responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country -- buildings, industry, and transportation. The top-scoring countries in each grouping are: E.U., France, and Italy (three-way tie for national efforts); China (buildings); Germany (industry); and Italy (transportation).
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: "Germany is a prime example of a nation that has made energy efficiency a top priority. The United States, long considered an innovative and competitive world leader, has progressed slowly and has made limited progress since our last report, even as Germany, Italy, China, and other nations surge ahead."
Dr. Philipp Ackermann, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, said: "We are very pleased that Germany ranks first in ACEEE's analysis of energy efficiency efforts among the world's 16 largest economies. We see this as a validation that Germany's measures are bearing fruit in its ongoing efforts to transition towards a low-carbon and energy-efficient economy. At the same time, we will continue to strive for further improvements. Energy efficiency is the second pillar of Germany's transformation of its energy system alongside the expansion of renewable energies. Every kilowatt hour of electricity that is not consumed saves on fossil fuels and the construction of power plants and grids."