Switzerland to decide on nuclear power phaseout in favor of renewables

18/05/2017 16:00 Energy Market

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This Sunday, Switzerland will go to the polls and decide upon the government’s plan to abandon further development of nuclear power in favor of renewable energy. The focus of the campaign are the costs of the change. The current referendum follows October’s signature campaign organized by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) who gave the support to contest the Government’s controversial energy plan in a popular vote.

Under the plan named “Energy Strategy 2015”, the centre-right government wishes to interdict the construction of new nuclear plants, while 5 existing ones, counting the oldest operating reactor in the world Beznau I, should be shut down at the end of their technically safe operating life.

 

Switzerland desires to significantly increase solar, wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal energy. But consumers will have to pay a surcharge on their electricity bills to fund the costs of about 480 million Swiss francs (439 million euros) a year.

 

Approx. 450 million francs would be earmarked from a current fossil fuels tax to reduce energy use in buildings by 43 % by 2035 compared with year 2000 levels.

 

At present, renewable resources are just under 5 % in Switzerland’s energy production, compared with 60 % for hydro and 35 percent for nuclear. The new law supposes a rise in the renewable energies from 2,831 GWh now to minimum 11,400 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2035.

 

The opposition’s campaign against the plan has mainly concentrated on what clients and taxpayers will pay for the measures and if the 4 times increase in solar and wind power by 2035 would provide the nation with reliable and adequate supplies.

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