These are the top 10 countries leading the way in energy

Anmar Frangoul | Special to CNBC.com
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The world finds itself at the crossroads when it comes to energy. Decisions we make now regarding fossil fuels and clean energy will have significant – and potentially permanent – effects on future generations.

The World Energy Council's "energy trilemma index" ranks countries based on their "likely ability" to offer up sustainable energy policies via energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. The WEC refers to these three factors as the "energy trilemma."

Here, CNBC looks at the top 10 countries from that index.

10. New Zealand

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The World Energy Council (WEC) states that 10th-placed New Zealand produces 84 percent of its own energy, and that its electricity fuel mix "consists of a healthy and robust combination of fossil fuels, hydropower, and other renewables."

The New Zealand government has set a target of 90 percent of electricity generation coming from renewable sources by 2025.


9. Finland

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According to the WEC, Finland's weakest "energy dimension" remains environmental sustainability.

The Nordic country has seen a rise in energy security, while energy equity performance "continues to be strong as gasoline and electricity prices are stable" with the "perceived quality" of its electricity supply also improving.


8. France

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France "relies heavily" on oil and gas imports, the WEC states, and has embraced nuclear energy to offset this.

This has resulted in nuclear contributing around 79 percent of the country's total electricity generation. Overall, less than 10 percent of electricity in France is generated using fossil fuels.


7. Canada

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A huge energy exporter, Canada is blessed with an abundance of renewable sources. According to the Canadian government, the country is the world's second largest producer of hydroelectricity, while wind energy provides 3.5 percent of the country's electricity generation.

Despite this, the WEC says that environmental sustainability "remains Canada's weakest energy dimension" and points to "comparatively high, although decreasing, levels of energy and emission intensity."


6. Denmark

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Wind energy rules in Denmark, and the Danish Energy Agency says that over a third of Danish electricity production comes from wind turbines.

The Danish government has set itself the target of being independent from fossil fuels by 2050.

The WEC states that Denmark provides its population with "secure, affordable and environmentally sensitive energy."


5. Austria

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Praised by the WEC for its "well diversified generation portfolio", Austria's energy security is still seen as its "weakest dimension," with a heavy reliance on imported fuels.

The outlook for the country, however, is broadly positive. Austria is becoming increasingly self sufficient, according to the WEC, and it has "more than doubled" renewable energy production since 1980.


4. United Kingdom

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The WEC describes the U.K. as facing "significant challenges" when it comes to securing its energy supply.

The WEC states that the U.K. remains reliant on fossil fuels for 69 percent of "its electricity fuel mix."


3. Norway

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It may be home to considerable oil reserves, but Norway also embraces renewables.

The Norwegian government says that renewable energy sources account for 98 percent of electricity production, with hydropower the biggest source, responsible for 129 terawatt hours of electricity in 2013.


2. Sweden

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Scandinavian country Sweden finds itself in second place thanks in part to its "diverse electricity mix."

The WEC states that low or zero carbon sources are responsible for 98 percent of electricity generation.

There is room for improvement, however, with the WEC pointing out that the transport sector – excluding trains, trams and metro – is reliant on fossil fuels.


1. Switzerland

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Top of the list is Switzerland, with the WEC stating that the country "continues to be the best in the world at limiting its impact on the environment, with low levels of pollution and an ultra-low emission energy infrastructure."

The WEC goes on to add that this infrastructure uses fossil fueled power plants for just 1 percent of electricity generation.

With more than 600 plants in the country, hydropower is a crucial part of Switzerland's energy mix, with the Swiss government saying that it accounts for roughly 56 percent of domestic electricity production.