Variance in Electrical Infrastructure by Country

The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on technology. 20% of a country’s technology score (4% of the overall Country Similarity Index score) is allocated for the country’s electrical infrastructure. The following are the statistics that were included in the calculation:

Energy Source

The way countries create electricity can vary greatly even between similar countries. In the Middle East and tropical island countries, natural gas and oil tend to be the primary sources of fuel. In mountainous countries with significant rainfall, hydroelectricity is used more often. Nuclear power is used in Europe to varying degrees. France has the highest percentage of electricity created by nuclear power with over 70%. No country uses wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass as their primary fuel.

The World Bank and Wikipedia are the sources of the data:

Energy sources included the following types:
Biomass, Coal, Natural Gas, Geothermal, Hydro, Nuclear, Oil, Solar, Wind

Electricity Use

Iceland uses by far the most electricity per capita, due to the abundance of renewable energy and a cold climate. However, some countries in extremely hot locations also use a lot of electricity to cool their buildings, like in countries bordering the Persian Gulf. In contrast, the countries that use the least amount of electricity and mostly located in Africa. 

The World Bank is the source of the data:

Countries categorized into the following groups by electrical usage in kWh per capita:
0-212, 212-425, 425-850, 850-1700, 1700-3400, 3400-6800, 6800-13600, 13600-27200, 27200-54400

Electrical Grid Access

The citizens of most countries have nearly 100 percent access to the electrical grid. However there are still some countries that lag considerably behind. Sub-Saharan African countries tend to have the least access to the grid. In Burundi, South Sudan, and Chad, less than 10% of people have access.

The Our World in Data is the source of the statistics:

Countries were categorized into the following groups by percentage of people with access to the electrical grid:
0-20, 20-40, 40-55, 55-70, 70-80, 80-90, 90-95, 95-100

Electrical outlet

The type of electrical outlet used in a country tends to be highly regional. Since the United States uses Type A, B most North American and countries around the Caribbean have followed suit. The British used Type D and later Type G outlets, so many of their former colonies have adopted one of those outlets. One exception is that Australia popularized Type I outlets in the Oceania region. In Europe and countries that were colonized by continental European countries, the Type C outlet is predominantly used. Many countries use a mix of different types. For example, China’s standard electrical outlet accommodates Type A, C, and I plugs. 

WorldStandards is the source of the data:

Outlet types include:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O

Voltage & Frequency

There are essentially two different voltages used throughout the world. The voltage in most countries is between 220 and 240 volts. However, North America, Japan, and a few other countries have a voltage between 100 and 127 volts. This highly correlates with the countries that use Type A, B outlets. Frequency also varies between countries but it is less consequential than voltage, since most electronic equipment is compatible with both. Most of the time, countries with a voltage between 220 and 240 volts use 50 hz, while countries with a voltage between 100 and 127 volts use 60 hz. However, there are some exceptions. For example, South Korea, Philippines, Guyana, and Peru all use 60hz frequency, despite have a voltage between 220 and 240 volts.

WorldStandards is the source of the data:

Voltages and frequency categories:
100-127 volts, 220-240 volts, 50 hz, 60 hz

Synchronous Grid

Many countries have connected their electrical grids together. This helps save energy and makes the grid more resilient to blackouts. Most of continental Europe is connected except for Scandinavia. Due to being one country for many years, most of the power grids of the former USSR countries are interconnected. There are many other locations were multiple countries have pooled their resources to create a synchronous grid between them.

Wikipedia is the primary source of the data:

Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one country is to another. How would you quantify how similar one country is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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