Though China and the United States lead the world when it comes to gross domestic output (GDP), the sustainable competitiveness model uses another standard. SolAbility defines this on its’ website, “Sustainable competitiveness is the ability of a country to meet the needs and basic requirements of current generations while sustaining or growing the national and individual wealth into the future without depleting its natural, intellectual and social capital.” The focus is not corporate wealth or political clout, but “dignifying standard of life for all citizens.” Thus the 2016 Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index ranks Europe Foremost.
Aside from the cold winter of 2012, Europe’s electric consumption has been declining the past five years. A combination of milder winters, advances in energy efficiency and some industry relocations have brought the numbers down. It is against this background that the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) point to the marked growth of wind and solar energy. According to their report Electricity in Europe 2014, renewables supplied 32.9% of the EU’s electricity.