It was a major setback in Switzerland’s fight against climate change – and a blow to Environment Minister Simonetta Somaruga (61). Voters rejected the new CO law on Sunday, with 51.6 percent of the vote. This means that the goals of the Paris climate agreement can no longer be achieved. By 2030, greenhouse gas emissions are to be halved from 1990 levels.
An assessment published Thursday by the Swiss Energy Foundation (SES) indicates just how great the need for action really is. Hydropower accounts for a considerable share of electricity in Switzerland. However, it is important now that our country builds facilities for the generation of renewable electricity. And here hydropower doesn’t have that much potential anymore.
wind instead of nuclear, solar instead of oil
With wind and solar power, however, the potential is huge. But this is where our country can hardly run. On the one hand, it is important to compensate for the gradual run out of nuclear power. On the other hand, eliminating fossil fuels requires more renewable electricity, because CO₂ law or not: gasoline and diesel cars are increasingly being replaced by electric vehicles, and oil and gas heating systems are also disappearing. because they are being replaced by heat pumps
But simply: it requires more electricity from renewable sources. However, when it comes to promoting these energies, Switzerland risks falling behind: “Compared to other European countries, Switzerland still lags behind most countries in terms of per capita production of solar and wind energy,” SES is the essence. There is an urgent need for better investment conditions for domestic power generation.
24th out of 29
Specifically, in a brief study, SES compared per capita production of solar and wind power in Switzerland and 27 EU countries, as well as Great Britain. Result: Switzerland is ranked 24th – just ahead of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Latvia.
Only 4.7 percent of the electricity consumption in this country will be generated from photovoltaic and wind power. For example in Denmark it is 54 percent. Compared to the surrounding nine countries, Switzerland comes in last.
Northern European countries have topped the list for years: Denmark, Germany and Sweden all produce several times more wind power than Switzerland. Ireland has now displaced Germany from the top 3.
If you look only at photovoltaics, Switzerland is in eighth place. It has been defeated by Germany, Malta, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands, so in some cases also by the more northern and flatter countries with less solar radiation.
The federal government should explicitly increase expansion targets
Based on these results, the SES tells the politicians to act. It is the only way to achieve climate goals and strengthen supply security.
The next opportunity to do so is soon to open: The Federal Council intends to present its message on the new energy law in June. “In law, expansion targets in particular must be explicitly extended so that they are in line with climate targets,” comments Felix Niepkow from SES.
The Energy-Stiftung envisages an increase of 12 to 17 times the production today by 2035. Today, about 311 kilowatt hours (kWh) will be produced per capita from solar and wind power. By 2035 it should be from 4,000 to 5,000 kWh – already from photovoltaics. For comparison: Germany today produces a good 2200 kWh per capita from solar and wind power.
National Council seeks to close funding gap
The National Council has just taken the first step in this direction. He wants to promote new wind power, small hydro power, biogas, geothermal and photovoltaic systems with one-time investment contribution from 2023. He approved similar submissions on Wednesday.
Renewable energy has so far been mainly supported by cost-oriented feed-in tariffs (KEVs). It expires at the end of 2022. With its decision, the National Council seeks to plug loopholes in the means of funding. (dba)
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