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publication December 9, 2018

Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy 2018



  • RISE 2018 charts global progress on sustainable energy policies and shows that policies matter – they are a leading indicator and building block of the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • The report finds that the world has seen a huge uptake in sustainable energy policies. However, progress is still far from where it needs to be for the world to reach global climate goals and the Sustainable Development Goal on Energy (SDG7).
  • RISE 2018 rates 133 countries from 2010-17 on electricity access, renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to clean cooking to provide useful data to policymakers and help the private sector make informed decisions about investing in energy projects

The latest edition of the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) finds that in the past decade, the number of countries with strong policy frameworks for sustainable energy has more than tripled since 2010, with a dramatic increase in the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.

However, the report warns that the world, as a whole, is only about half way towards the adoption of advanced policy frameworks for sustainable energy, leaving significant room for improvement in order to reach global climate goals and the sustainable energy goal on energy (SDG7).

RISE 2018: Policy Matters — a global stocktaking of policies and regulations to achieve SDG7 – measures country-level adoption of policies and regulations for electricity access, clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

With indicators covering 133 countries and representing 97 percent of the world’s population, RISE 2018 provides a reference point for policymakers to benchmark their policies and regulatory frameworks against those of regional and global peers and identify any gaps that may hinder their progress toward universal energy access.

"Policy matters. RISE 2018 confirms the numbers that make it clear that policy is a leading indicator of the world’s sustainable energy transition. But the report also contains a warning: that without accelerated adoption of good policies, and strong enforcement, the world’s climate goals and SDG7 are at risk."
Riccardo Puliti
Senior Director for Energy and Extractives, World Bank

Key takeaways from RISE 2018 are as follows:

  • From 2010-2017, the number of countries with strong policy frameworks for sustainable energy more than tripled – from 17 to 59.
  • Many of the world’s largest energy-consuming countries have significantly improved their renewable energy regulations while adopting clear targets for both renewable energy and energy efficiency in the run-up to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • Progress is no longer contained to developed countries: there are strong performers in every region of the developing world.

Energy Access:

  • The countries that have increased their electricity access rates the most since 2010 have also shown a concurrent improvement in electricity access policies.
  • In countries with an electricity access deficit, policymakers are increasingly turning their attention to off-grid solutions to close the gap. This is illustrated by the soaring share of low-access countries adopting measures to support mini-grids and solar home systems from around 15 percent in 2010 to 70 percent in 2017.

Renewable Energy:

  • In 2017, 50 countries – almost double from 2010 – had developed significant policy frameworks to enable the uptake of renewable energy.
  • About 93 percent of countries covered by RISE had adopted an official renewable energy target, compared to only 37 percent in 2010 and 84 percent of countries had regulations in place to support renewable energy deployment, while 95 percent allowed the private sector to own and operate renewable energy projects.
  • Still, clean energy policies continue to focus on electricity, while heating and transportation – which account for 80 percent of global energy use – continue to be overlooked.

Energy Efficiency:

  • The percentage of countries with advanced policy frameworks on energy efficiency grew more than ten-fold from 2 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2017. Most encouragingly, these countries account for 66 percent of the world’s energy consumption.
  • But the global average score on energy efficiency remains low, suggesting significant room for improvement.

Clean Cooking:

  • Among the four SDG7 target areas, clean cooking continues to be the most overlooked and underfunded by policymakers.
  • Despite some evolution in policy frameworks since 2010, there has been little progress on standard-setting for cookstoves or on consumer and producer incentives to stimulate adoption of clean technologies.

While these results are encouraging, RISE 2018 shows that countries still have a long way to go.

  • The world is only about half way towards the adoption of advanced policy frameworks for sustainable energy. This puts at risk the achievement of SDG7 by 2030 and hinders progress towards the goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees.
  • Policy enforcement is a key challenge. While strong policy frameworks are critical, they must be backed by effective institutions and enforcement. RISE has incorporated proxy indicators to help understand how strongly countries are focusing on enforcing policies.
  • In countries that have made progress on sustainable policies, the deteriorating fiscal position of national utilities is putting progress at risk. Among countries with low access to energy, the number of utilities meeting basic creditworthiness criteria dropped from 63 percent in 2012 to 37 percent in 2016.

RISE 2018 is the second edition of RISE first released in 2016. As such, it follows the previous methodology of classifying countries into a green zone of strong performers in the top third, a yellow zone of middling performers, and a red zone of weaker performers in the bottom third. It also incorporates new features including policy time trends since 2010; a greater emphasis on tracking policies that support enforcement; broader coverage of the heating and transport sectors; and a pilot assessment of the policy environment for clean cooking in a dozen large access-deficit countries.