Renewable energies are energy sources that regenerate naturally, for example sun, wind, water, biomass and geothermal energy.
Energy in the form of electricity, heat and liquid or solid fuel from renewable biomass is produced from energy crops grown specifically for this purpose (e.g. rape or corn) or in Axpo’s case, from wood and residual materials such as straw, crop waste, biowaste and liquid manure. Like the combustion of fossil fuels, the use of biomass energy also generates greenhouse gas emissions, but not more than the plants previously extracted from the atmosphere during their growth.
Geothermal energy uses heat from the earth's core. Energy stored in the earth can be harnessed with the help of various methods: ln most cases, a geothermal probe is used in combination with heat pumps to heat single-family homes and large buildings. Geothermal probes reach depths of 200 to 400 metres.
Geothermal heat can also be used to generate electricity. ln Switzerland, however, this requires drilling at depths of between 2,000 and 5,000 metres. The required temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius can only be found at these depths. However, the technology is still not as mature as that of geothermal probes. Currently, Switzerland does not produce electricity from geothermal sources. Initial tests using deep drilling in Basel and St. Gallen resulted in slight earthquakes. Both projects were subsequently abandoned. There are currently further efforts to generate electricity from geothermal energy, particularly in western Switzerland.
More information on this topic can be found here:
As the largest Swiss producer of renewable energies, Axpo is making a significant contribution to the energy transition in Switzerland and Europe. We invest in Swiss solar power, wind power, hydropower and biomass. In the area of wind power, we also build and operate wind farms in Germany and France through our subsidiary Volkswind. In the expansion of large-scale solar plants, we are strong in various European countries with our subsidiary Urbasolar. With customised energy solutions and so-called PPAs ("Power Purchase Agreements"), a financing model that makes it possible, among other things, to build wind and solar power plants without subsidies, we are helping to further expand climate-friendly and CO2-free energies.
In Switzerland, hydropower predominates in the electricity mix. Our power plant park (ownership and participations) comprises around 60 plants (see also Locations). Another important pillar is biomass, with 15 biomass plants for the utilisation of organic waste and a woodchip power plant in Domat/Ems, the largest biomass power plant in Switzerland.
A look into the history books indicates that Axpo began promoting renewable energies at an early stage and supported research into various technologies in this area.
ln 1990, then known as Nordostschweizerische Kraftwerke, we began working with both wind energy and photovoltaics. The three wind power plants planned on the Fläscherberg in the Canton of Grisons were not realised because no official building permit was granted. ln the same year, however, the first photovoltaic system with an output of 2.6 kW was installed on the roof of the administration building in Baden. More systems would follow. ln 1993, the solar tower planned by NOK at the Steckborn church was awarded the Swiss Solar Prize. Research and development were also promoted: The company participated in the launch of a research centre for heat pumps and became involved in geothermal research.
The sustainable energy future has long since begun at Axpo.
Axpo is a leader in the dry fermentation of organic waste. With its 15 biomass plants, 5 composting sites and mobile services in Switzerland, it recycles the organic waste of more than 2,500 customers (cities, municipalities, industry and commerce) and extracts renewable energy and nutrient-rich natural fertilizer from it. Both energy and fertiliser bear the seal of quality for ecologically produced products. When it comes to sustainable resource management, Axpo is the right partner for municipalities, trade and industry.
The Federal Office for the Environment calculates that a total of 1.82 million tonnes of biowaste are produced in Switzerland every year. In contrast to the pure disposal of biowaste, the recycling of biowaste in a biomass plant closes the material cycle. Compared to composting, fermentation reduces CO2 emissions by around 200 kilograms per tonne of green waste.
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We are also sustainably present at festivals with our organic waste concept, such as the Soulfood Festival in Baden.
And here at the Grand Prix of Bern – a city run over 10 miles – it was bananas for us and the runners!
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