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Switzerland

Official Name:
Switzerland

Energy profile

Switzerland (2013)

Type: 
Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

In Switzerland, electricity is delivered via the medium of the national transmission grid at the high and extra-high voltage level (220/380 kV). This grid is, in turn, interconnected with the international grid of the UCTE (Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity), which guarantees secure grid operation for 450 million people in 24 countries across Europe. Switzerland plays a pivotal role as a European electricity hub from which the entire national economy benefits.

Renewable energy potential

SolarThe field of photovoltaics is in its prime; the first solar modules were used more than fifty years ago to supply power on mini-satellites. Today, the largest solar power installation in Switzerland, on the roof of the Stade de Suisse, generates 1.3 MW of electricity per year. Even in the Swiss "Mittelland", the lowlands, the average level of the sun’s radiation is sufficient to allow efficient solar power production.Wind EnergyWith the introduction of the FIT, one of the goals of Switzerland's energy policy is to increase the proportion of electricity produced by “new” renew¬able energy (without large-scale hydro) by 5,400 GWh, or 10% of the country's present-day electricity consumption, by 2030. Wind energy should contribute 600 to 1,200 GWh to these targets. The Swiss wind energy concept (plan) also identifies the calculated wind energy potential for Switzerland, based on the real existing wind conditions on the sites and on the possible num¬ber of plants to be installed. The poten¬tial is outlined by time horizons: Time horizon 2020: 600 GWh; Time horizon 2030: 1,500 GWh; Time horizon 2050: 4,000 GWh.BiomassRelative contribution of biomass to Swiss energy production in 2004: wood 2.5%, biogas from wastewater treatment 0.18%; other biomass (biogas from agriculture, etc.) 0.056%.Targets / measures: SwissEnergy and the Coop Naturaplan standard together aim at fostering biogas from biodynamic agriculture from to date one up to a minimum of 50 plants by 2010.Associations (selection): Biomass Energy Switzerland with the aim to convey energy from different sources of biomass (e.g: compost, dung, sludge); Wood Energy Switzerland; Biogas Switzerland.HydroThe major renewable energy source in Switzerland is hydro. In 2011 approximately 54% of total electrical energy was produced by hydro plants, which include run of the river, storage and pumping plants. Today there are 556 hydropower plants in Switzerland that each have a capacity of at least 300 kilowatts, and these produce an average of around 35,830 GigaWatt hours (GWh) per annum, 47% of which is produced in run-of-river power plants, 49% in storage power plants and approximately 4% in pumped storage power plants. Today 8500GWh of storage capacity in form of storage lakes filled with precipitations and melting water as well as pumped storage plants are exploited (which is tremendous potential compared to for instance German installed storage capacity of 60GWh – which considers pumped storage, compressed air, storage lakes etc.).

Energy framework

Swiss Energy PolicySince 2007, the Swiss energy policy is based on the four pillars energy efficiency, renewable energies, the replacement and new construction of large-scale power plants, as well as foreign energy policy. This policy is operationalized by action plans that foresee to decrease the consumption of fossil fuels by 20% and to increase the portion of renewable energies of the total energy consumed by 50% until 2020 (from 16.2% to around 24%). The action plans envisage limiting the increase in energy consumption between 2010 and 2020 to 5%, with a stabilisation of energy consumption thereafter. They consist of a set of comprehensive incentive measures, direct subsidies, and regulations and minimal standards, which fall into the responsibility of either the Swiss Federation, or the Parliament, or the cantons. In the latter case, the Federation assists in harmonizing the independent cantons’ efforts.Energy Strategy 2050After the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in spring 2011, the Swiss government and parliament decided to completely phase out nuclear power, possibly until 2034. As a direct consequence of this decision, the “Energy Strategy 2050” was adopted, laying out a roadmap towards a significant reduction in final energy use and a stabilization of electricity use. The medium-term policy measures will focus on improving energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy generation – especially hydro power but also other renewable sources –, and natural gas. The corresponding legislative proposals are due for public and parliamentary consultation in fall 2012 and spring 2013, respectively. The new legislation should then enter into force in the beginning of 2015.Kyoto ProtocolAs a signatory state to the Kyoto Protocol, Switzerland committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 8% below the 1990 level between 2008 and 2012. This overall target was split up into sectoral targets. With fossil fuels used in the heating and transport sectors contributing a major part to Swiss national GHG emissions, policies in general focus on the building sector (including refurbishment of the building shell and installation of renewable energy) and on transport. Hence, in its national CO2 law of the year 2000, Switzerland adopted a joint CO2 emission reduction target for heating and process fuels and transport fuels of 10% below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. This target was further split up into a reduction target of 15% for heating and process fuels, and 8% for transport fuels.Swiss Energy ProgrammeThe SwissEnergy [EnergieSchweiz] programme is the central platform for connecting, coordinating, and information and know-how exchange between the several actors in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energies in Switzerland. It supports both mandatory regulations and voluntary initiatives in households, municipalities, and business & industry.  Additionally, further policies have been established at Cantonal and Communal levels. Further to these legal bases, several energy programs and strategies have been developed at the Federal, Cantonal and Communal levels.On the feed-in tariff, please see the section below on regulatory framework.

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  • Putting Carbon Back Into the Ground

    Type: 
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    Putting Carbon Back Into the Ground
    Publication date:

    This report analyses the role that carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology could play in abating increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) while having minimal impact on the global energy infrastructure and the economy. The report examines the potential environmental and economic costs of CCS technology.

  • Clean Energy Info Portal: reegle (Website)

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    This database provides global information on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change, including country energy profiles, a list of key global stakeholders, policy and regulatory overviews, an energy and climate change glossary, a clean energy Web search, geobrowsing features, and a clean energy blog.

  • International Energy Agency (IEA) Advanced Motor Fuels Annual Report 2010

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    This report presents a global outlook of advanced motor fuels and their place in the transportation sector. It discusses how close the world is to wide-scale use of alternative fuels; however, an increasing number of options make decision-making more challenging for consumers, fleet operators, communities, and governments. The report presents national goals for implementing advanced motor fuels, lays out current financial incentives and regulations for alternative fuels in various countries around the world, and provides a market picture of advanced fuels both globally and by country.

  • Country Energy Profiles (Website)

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    This reegle website provides comprehensive energy profiles for all countries with information from reliable sources such as UN or the World Bank. Profile information includes national policies on energy-related issues, visualized statistics, renewable energy potentials maps, national projects programmes, and key stakeholders.

  • Photovoltaic Geographical Information System

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    Sectors:

    This tool provides a geographical inventory of solar energy resources and an assessment of the electricity generation from photovoltaic systems in Europe, Africa, and southwest Asia. The tools allows for analysis of the technical, environmental, and socio-economic factors of solar electricity generation. Users may access maps and posters generated using the tool, as well as technical publications and papers.

  • Transport Research Knowledge Centre (Website)

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    Publication date:

    The Transport Research Knowledge Centre (TRKC) provides an overview of transport research activities at the European and national level.

  • Greening Household Behaviour: The Role of Public Policy

    Type: 
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    Publication date:

    This report evaluated the role of public policy in encouraging conservation in a residential setting. It interprets the results of an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey sent to over 10,000 households within the OECD area on home water use, energy use, personal transport choices, organic food consumption, and waste generation and recycling. Analysis of the responses offers insight into the market, demographic, and policy factors that actually influence people’s environmental behaviour and consumption patterns.

  • Summary of Country Reports Submitted to the Energy Efficiency Working Party

    Type: 
    Publication
    Summary of Country Reports Submitted to the Energy Efficiency Working Party
    Publication date:

    This summary document provides an overview of energy efficiency policies and planning across all sectors in International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries. It contains an overview of changes in policy context by country, as well as updated data on energy consumption and intensity. The majority is devoted to summarizing significant policy developments in the following sectors: buildings; transport, lighting, and appliances; public sector; and industry and energy management.

  • Fuel Switching and Climate and Energy Policies in the European Power Generation Sector: A Generalized Leontief Model

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    Publication date:

    This study analyzes the role and nature of price-induced fuel switching behaviour between fossil fuels (i.e., coal, oil, and natural gas) in the western European power sector. It also investigates the impact of a number of public policies on fuel choice in the energy sector during the last 20 years. The empirical results show evidence of notable short-run inter-fuel substitution between oil and gas, particularly in countries where fossil fuels are used extensively for both base and peak load purposes.