Which countries are performing best with energy efficiency?

It's no secret that countries all over the world are under increasing pressure to become more energy efficient. Whether they're investing in new technologies or introducing schemes to encourage the greater use of eco-friendly solutions, the race is on to bring the greatest benefit to the environment.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has unveiled its 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which shows just how well various countries are faring.

Countries are assessed using a total of 31 metrics across four groups. The cost-cutting aspects of energy use on a national level and the three sectors responsible for the greatest proportion of energy consumption - industry, transportation and buildings - are all taken into consideration.

Which country came out on top?

Germany ranked in first place in this year's rankings. As ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel points out, the country has made energy efficiency a top priority - and its efforts are paying off.

It has made significant investments across a wide range of energy efficiency measures, helping to bring down electricity prices and ensure energy reserves will last well into the future.

Dr Philipp Ackermann, minister and deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, said he is pleased the country is being recognised for its efforts.

He continued: "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."

How well is Australia faring?

Australia still has some way to go before it can begin to keep pace with the likes of Germany, but its achievements are not to be overlooked.

The country ranked in 10th place this year behind the likes of Italy, China, France and the UK. It did, however, manage to outperform the US, as it ranked in 13th position.

Several large-scale renewable energy projects are being rolled out across Australia, so it's safe to say the country is starting to move in the right direction. Among them is the 102-megawatt solar power plant in Nyngan, New South Wales, which is expected to generate enough electricity to power 33,000 homes.

Wind power is also starting to come to the fore in Australia, as data from the Clean Energy Council shows how the country currently has 1,639 wind turbines located across 68 wind farms.

Posted by Richard West