Year of fate for renewables

Switzerland faces enormous challenges in implementing the Energy Strategy and achieving climate neutrality. A substantial expansion of renewable energies is crucial in order to achieve the objectives. Today, energy policy preferences collide with economic reality. As a result, Swiss energy companies primarily invest abroad. Policy-makers have it in their hands to correct the situation in power year 2021. 

Expansion of renewables too slow, electricity from hydropower endangered

Today the Swiss Federal Council approved the dispatch to the Federal Assembly of a new draft act for the security of electricity supply through renewable energies. Axpo welcomes its direction of travel, but not the pace or measures it proposes. Axpo is convinced that an auctioned floating market premium, based on a successful international model, would advance the expansion of renewable energies faster and more efficiently than the planned investment contributions. In addition, it is incomprehensible that existing large-scale hydropower plants will no longer be supported. This will endanger the very foundation of Switzerland’s power supply.

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More about the issue directly from our CEO Christoph Brand

More articles and interviews with Christoph Brand


The way to achieve Switzerland’s energy transition

Guest commentary in the Tagesanzeiger from 13.02.2021

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"We must abandon energy policy ideologies"

Axpo CEO Christoph Brand in an interview with the NZZ

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Two central revisions in summer 2021

In order for Switzerland to achieve its defined energy and climate policy objectives, the country must substantially expand in renewable energies. The Federal Council is aware of the problem. It wants to improve the framework conditions for the domestic development of power production from renewable energies and accordingly increase Switzerland's security of supply.

The Council intends to create the necessary legal basis through the revision of the Energy Act (EnG) and the Electricity Supply Act (StromVG). A proposal including both revisions will be presented to Swiss Parliament by the summer of 2021. Axpo has addressed the individual changes to the laws. We support the proposal’s general thrust, but see some of the measures put forward as inexpedient.

You will find our statements on both revisions here:

Revision of the Energy Act (support measures from 2023)

In amending the Energy Act, the Federal Council aims to introduce greater incentives for the expansion of renewable energy sources in Switzerland. Axpo fundamentally welcomes this approach. But the planned investment contributions are not suited to investment in urgently needed large-scale plants. Therefore, Axpo is proposing the introduction of tender-based floating market premiums, which are already established in Germany and France. In addition, a risk guarantee would ensure that there is sufficient investment in the long-term preservation of existing hydropower plants.  

Revision Electricity Supply Act (StromVG)

The Electricity Supply Act defines the framework conditions for the Swiss power market. Overall, the law has proven effective. Therefore, any proposed changes  should have a minimal impact on the power market. Not all the proposed changes in the Federal Council's draft are in line with this position. Data exchange and division of responsibilities between ElCom and Swissgrid, the transmission grid operator, create unwarranted competitive advantages. The proposal does not fulfil the remit repeatedly issued by Swiss Parliament and does not formulate a suitable market model to support hydropower.

Further information

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"Existing large hydropower was left out"

If the Government does not improve the current revision of the Energy Act, Swiss hydropower will have a particularly difficult time in the future.

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"The floating market premium is the more effective solution"

Christoph Sutter, Head of New Energies at Axpo, talks about his experience with the "floating market premium" in the international environment.

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"We demand a floating market premium"

Axpo President of the Board Thomas Sieber in an interview with CH Media

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Media releases


Energy Act: Investments in renewables have to be worthwhile

Targeted investment incentives are needed in order for Switzerland to achieve a substantial expansion of renewable energies. The investment contributions proposed under the revision of the Energy Act are not suitable for large-scale plants. Furthermore a risk guarantee to ensure long-term investments in existing hydropower plants is lacking. Axpo proposes appropriate alternatives.

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Alliance for an effective financing model for renewable energies

An alliance of the Swiss energy industry, consisting of the major energy suppliers, municipal utilities and various industry associations, is demanding that the Federal Council provides an effective and market-oriented financing model for renewable energies that will put an end to the current blockade on domestic investments and thereby guarantee security of supply. The demands include a binding development path for renewable energies and the introduction of competitive tenders with a floating market premium, taking into account European regulatory guidelines.

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