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Dictionary

Swiss Energy Policies

Although Switzerland today has a secure and cost-effective energy supply, in view of the the economic, technological, and political developments at home and abroad, the Federal Government has developed the Energy Strategy 2050.

Although Switzerland today has a secure and cost-effective energy supply, in view of the the economic, technological, and political developments at home and abroad, the Federal Government has developed the Energy Strategy 2050.

The Energy Strategy 2050 foresees 50% increase in the amount of electricity produced by renewable energy in Switzerland by 2020 over 2015. Waste-to-energy and photovoltaics continue to provide the lion share, and only show a minor increase. However, wind energy, biomass, biogas and geothermal are all expected to show significant increases.

The Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 is a comprehensive package of goals and measures for safe, reliable, efficient and affordable energy supply in Switzerland. The main pillars are:

  • Higher energy efficiency in order to reduce or stabilize energy and electricity consumption despite economic and population growth;
  • Step-by-step expansion of electricity production from hydropower and new renewable energies (solar, biomass, biogas, wind, waste, geothermal energy);
  • Secure access to the European electricity market for mutually balancing adjustments based on weather, day and year-related production fluctuations;
  • Modernization of the electricity transmission network;
  • Coordinated energy research for efficiency technologies, networks, energy storage and electricity supply;
  • Role model of the public sector through a rational use of energy and a broad coverage of energy consumption with renewable energies.

The Energy Strategy 2050 also calls on the companies to reduce their energy consumption "and to strengthen the economic positioning of Switzerland with innovative energy-saving products". The Alliance of the Swiss Economy for the Energy Strategy 2050 undertakes to meet the demands of this programme.

The 2004 WWF prognosis proposes that a mix of renewable energies can increase total non-nuclear electricity generation capacity in Switzerland from the current 40 TWh to 80 TWh by 2030. This would be: increase in hydropower from 35 to 40 TWh; thermal power cogeneration from 2 TWh to 10 TWh; waste incineration from 2 TWh to 4 TWh; PV 2 TWh; Wind 1 TWh; Geothermal 12 TWh.

Green Party Position

The Greens support the energy strategy 2050, which is an important and indispensable step towards an ecological energy policy. Nuclear phase-out, climate protection, reduction of energy consumption and full supply of renewable energies are no longer utopias but political reality.

After many years of deliberation, Parliament adopted the first package of measures for the Energy Strategy 2050 - a comprehensive revision of energy law - in the autumn of 2016. The referendum was held against it. The vote was held on 21 May 2017, and the decision was made in favour of the energy strategy.

The second package of measures, the climate and energy management system (KELS), is still under discussion in Parliament, but has little chance of success. If Parliament rejects the proposal, the Greens believe that the path embarked upon with the first package of measures in the Energy Strategy 2050 must be pursued further and that the existing and well-established instruments must be further developed.

REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION - IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The most environmentally friendly energy is the energy that is not consumed. The first step towards turning energy around is therefore to reduce consumption through savings and better efficiency. To this end, the energy strategy contains many important measures that also help to protect the climate:

  • With the energy strategy, more money from the CO2 tax is available for the building programme, which strengthens it.
  • Transport is responsible for more than one third of total energy consumption and CO2 emissions in Switzerland. The energy strategy 2050 envisages tightening up the existing emission regulations.
  • Competitive calls for tenders support programmes and projects that contribute to more economical electricity consumption in industry, services and households.
EXPANDING RENEWABLE ENERGIES

An energy supply based on uranium, oil, gas and coal is not sustainable. These energy sources are not only limited, they also pose a threat to people, nature and the climate as nuclear waste and CO2 emissions during mining and energy production. It is therefore necessary to switch to a supply of 100 percent renewable energies. The energy strategy gives a new impetus to renewable energies in Switzerland:

  1. The grid surcharge for the promotion of renewable energies will be increased with the energy strategy 2050 from a maximum of 1.5 centimes per kilowatt hour to a maximum of 2.3 centimes per kilowatt hour. As a result, more plants can be subsidized by means of the cost-covering feed-in tariff and investment contributions.
  2. The energy strategy generally facilitates the construction of renewable energy plants in protected areas, but at the same time improves the protection of biotopes of national importance. This is a compromise between the renewable energy sector and environmental associations.
  3. The planning certainty for the expansion of renewable energies is improved by requiring the energy strategy to define suitable areas in cantonal landmark plans.

Switzerland's CO2 emissions amount to around 38 million tonnes per year. According to the CO2 law, it must be reduced by 20% by 2020.

According to the WWF prognosis of 2004, a mix of renewable energies can increase the total non-nuclear power generation capacity in Switzerland from 40 TWh at present to 80 TWh by 2030. This would be: increase of hydroelectric power from 35 to 40 TWh; combined heat and power from 2 TWh to 10 TWh; waste incineration from 2 TWh to 4 TWh; PV 2 TWh; wind 1 TWh; geothermal energy 12 TWh.