This law on screening foreign direct investment is intended to prevent the takeover of Swiss companies by foreign investors if it would threaten public order or security. Accordingly, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs will have the authority to screen and approve takeovers. Axpo objects to this draft legislation. It is unclear how requiring authorisation for foreign investment in critical energy supply infrastructure will prevent a threat to public order and security.
Axpo welcomes the introduction of a hydropower reserve to avoid shortages, which are especially prevalent at the end of winter. However, the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders must be clearly defined and distinguished. All substantive decisions must be made by ElCom, with Swissgrid acting only as an implementer. In addition, the obligations of power plant operators to provide information must be limited to the minimum necessary.
Axpo welcomes the Federal Council's intention to streamline and accelerate procedures. However, it is to be feared that the bill does not go far enough and may even have the opposite effect in parts. We particularly miss a clear political signal in the bill in favor of the energy transition and to strengthen security of supply.
Due to the unprecedented price volatility on the energy markets, electricity companies are facing demands for additional liquidity to safeguard Swiss production. To prevent defaults in the event of further price spikes, the federal government wants to provide financial assistance to so-called system-critical companies. However, the drafted law goes far beyond this justified objective and deeply interferes with current law.
The amendment of the CO2 Act incorporates the uncontested parts of the total revision rejected in last June’s vote and lays the foundations for Switzerland’s climate policy from 2025 onwards. A larger proportion of the CO2 levy is to be earmarked in future to finance the proposed measures. This revision of the law represents another wasted opportunity to base Switzerland’s long-term climate policy on a pure control system that encompasses additional areas.