So what is Energy Intensity index exactly and why is it important? Energy intensity is a measure of energy conversion that is expressed as the amount of energy consumed per unit output. The energy intensity index (EII) is used to measure the efficiency of a country’s economy and is expressed as the ratio of a nation’s energy consumption to its GDP (gross domestic product). So why is GDP used? GDP is a popular index reflecting a country’s economy. It is easy to estimate and is readily available. Taking GDP as a measure of a country’s production output, it is easy to see that the energy intensity index could be used as a measure of a country’s efficiency from the view point of energy.
A high energy intensity index in contrast to others indicates that a country consumes much more energy to generate one dollar of GDP, while a low energy intensity index indicates that a country consumes less to generate one dollar of GDP. A quick survey of the energy intensity index of a few Caribbean countries including Jamaica, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Suriname, Guyana and oil rich Trinidad and Tobago revealed that Barbados led the pack having the lowest EII value of the seven countries surveyed, as shown below.
It is no surprise that Barbados is leading the pack, due mainly to a shift from electric water heating to solar powered water heating. Jamaica, having done reasonably well at developing and integrating RE resources, hydro, wind, bio-fuel, into its energy mix, showed some improvement between 2006 to now.
The EII value is one of many indices that is currently being used to track a country’s energy efficiency, and of all the measures that will contribute to meeting the challenge of sustainable development and limiting climate change, one obvious solution is to use energy more efficiently.