Renewable energies: Strong in Switzerland and internationally

How it works

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

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:

Hydropower: Renewable and climate-friendly

Domestic, renewable and climate-friendly: Hydropower accounts for about 60 per cent of the energy produced in Switzerland. How it works and what it has to do with Axpo is explained here.

Read more

Wind energy: The best locations in Europe

When the wind blows, the windmills turn. Find out how a wind turbine works and what’s need to produce wind energy in this background dossier.

Read more

Solar energy: Inexhaustible – also in Switzerland

The sun shines down from the sky at no cost – but not for 24 hours a day. Find out how electricity is generated from sunlight with photovoltaics and what Axpo is doing in this area here.

Read more


Hydrogen (H) is the most abundant element in the universe - it is a component of water (H2O) and practically all organic compounds.

Read more

Our renewables

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.

Renewables have tradition

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.

Reusing biowaste sensibly

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.

More about biowaste:

Taking action with concrete projects

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!

Are you an entrepreneur and interested in biomass? Then please click  here:


We recycle organic waste from over 2500 customers in Switzerland.

Read more

Are you a private consumer who wants to buy organic compost? Learn more with just one click.

Garden products

Private customers can dispose of biogenic waste at our sites and purchase high-quality compost, fertiliser and wood products.

Read more

Related magazine articles

All magazine articles


A refuge for birds, fish and beavers

The Hydropower Tour de Suisse – Aarekraftwerk Klingnau AG

Read more


Full market liberalisation: opportunity, not a must

Supplier choice for small-scale consumers too?

Read more


Stabilising the Electricity Grid with Water from the Valle Mesolcina

Important task in the remote mountain world

Read more


H2 demand: a look into the crystal ball

Potential, costs and visions for the future of hydrogen

Read more


Axpo accelerates Swiss solar initiative

In alpine, midland and urban areas

Read more


Modern Axpo power plant produces energy for 14,000 households

Rüchlig power plant – a modern understatement in the centre of Aarau

Read more

Related media releases

All media releases

Hydropower 14.03.2024

KLL: Successful financial year

Read more

Hydropower 14.03.2024

KSL: Significantly more electricity produced

Read more

Solar energy 13.03.2024

Axpo discontinues planned alpine solar project in Glarus Süd

Read more

More energy knowledge

See all

Limmern pumped storage plant: Battery in the mountains

A pumped storage plant functions like a large battery. You can find out exactly how it works and what it has to with the security of electricity supply in Switzerland here.

Read more

Grids: For a secure supply of electricity

Electricity comes out of the socket, of course! But how does it get there, what do Axpo’s networks have to do with it, and why do we use drones?

Read more

Renewable energies: Strong in Switzerland and internationally

Axpo is the largest producer of renewable energies. We know our way around hydroelectric power, wind power, solar energy and biomass. Click here for the details.

Read more