To avoid running out of electricity

It is essential for the economy that the supply of electricity remains guaranteed at competitive prices. No one today disputes that the Swiss electricity market is facing major challenges. There is currently a lot of pressure to decarbonise our energy resources and society in general. Replacing fossil fuel stoves and increasing the number of electric vehicles will certainly reduce CO2 emissions2, but at the same time increases the amount of electricity required. And in parallel with the expected increase in electricity consumption, the Swiss nuclear power plants will reach the end of their useful life in the coming decades.


Parliament is currently working on two legislative reforms: the Energy Act and the Electricity Supply Act. The aim is to guarantee security of supply in Switzerland. While the House of Representatives only extended the grid surcharge until 2030 last autumn, there is already talk of an extension and an increase of 0.2 cents/kilowatt hour. Economic circles are critical of these subsidies. Moreover, the long-awaited opening of the market threatens to be missed. However, this openness encourages competition between suppliers and innovation. It creates new opportunities to market electricity produced with low CO2 emissions2 and supports the emergence of solutions that improve energy efficiency. Market opening also benefits consumers, who can freely choose suppliers and services. Total market opening thus contributes to maintaining security of supply.


If grants are awarded, they must be technology neutral. Under this condition, capabilities can be developed with the best cost-benefit ratio. Specifically, gas-fired power stations should also be considered. It would not conflict with the target of net zero emissions by 2050 if such a gas factory offsets all its emissions. Knowing that our electricity production in the summer is higher than our needs and lower in the winter, it is crucial for security of supply that the support is focused on production in the winter. Only installations that can contribute to winter production are therefore eligible.


In the ongoing reflection, existing nuclear power plants must also be taken into account. The EU has recently considered these plants sustainable. Almost CO neutral2, they take up little space and produce large amounts of electricity. Our nuclear power plants must be able to continue to operate as long as they are safe. This would partially reduce the risk of power shortages in winter. Nuclear energy can make a major contribution to security of supply if nuclear power plants can be operated profitably and the problem of final waste storage is solved.


An electricity agreement with the EU would be useful to guarantee winter imports. Now that such an agreement is unlikely, electrical efficiency is gaining importance to contribute to security of supply. In this regard, we must bear in mind that every kilowatt hour avoided is both the cheapest and the most valuable. Therefore, economic circles want to launch an offensive in favor of electrical efficiency. In order to promote the creation of appropriate framework conditions, the target agreement system should be open to all companies, following the model of what is provided for in the CO2 law2† Any company that achieves the efficiency target set must be fully reimbursed for the grid surcharge. This would continuously and sustainably reduce electricity consumption, strengthen the competitiveness of companies and contribute to the stability of the system.

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