Switzerland can complete the energy transition and achieve security of supply at the same time, according to Axpo CEO Christoph Brand and Chief Economist Martin Koller. Speaking today to representatives from government, industry, politics and academia at an online presentation, they explained how this could be achieved and financed. The necessary expansion of renewable energies is possible, they stressed, if the right approval processes and financing options are put in place.
Switzerland intends to phase out nuclear energy and reduce CO2 emissions to net zero, in line with its Energy Strategy 2050. This will require the rapid development of domestic renewable energies. However, Switzerland has made hardly any progress in this area and the pace of expansion would have to be accelerated significantly to attain this goal. In the worst case scenario, blackouts would become a reality by 2025. If the pace of expansion does not increase, almost a third of the electricity will have to be imported by 2035. To ensure security of supply, Switzerland now has to decide which energy mix can best accomplish this monumental task, how the necessary power sources can be expanded to the required scale, and what the financial cost would be of doing so.
Drawing on Axpo’s national and international expertise, and its position as Switzerland’s largest power producer, Christoph Brand and Martin Koller presented a scenario that would achieve the energy transition while simultaneously ensuring security of supply.
By 2050, demand will increase by more than 35 per cent as electric vehicles, heat pumps and hydrogen production, as well as a growing population, consume more power than can be saved through efficiency measures.
Switzerland will depend on imports during the winter to efficiently meet peak power demand at certain times. The Axpo scenario defines an import limit of 10 TWh. The goal of a fully energy self-sufficient Switzerland would be too costly and its implementation would face public opposition.
In summing up, Christoph Brand pointed out the main obstacles: "Technically, the necessary expansion of renewable energies is possible. However, the long approval processes and lack of profitability prevent swift progress. Switzerland must solve these problems so that expansion can finally move forward."
The Axpo scenario was calculated and presented using the company’s new publicly accessible online ‘power switcher’ tool. Using it to configure the expansion of various power sources, interested parties can individually create the Swiss power mix of the future. The tool allows them to see if their power mix can cover future demand or how much electricity would need to be imported to prevent a blackout. In addition to the Axpo scenario, the ‘power switcher’ also features those of the Federal Office of Energy, Social Democratic Party (SP) National Councillor Roger Nordmann, Green Liberal Party National Councillor Jürg Grossen, and former SP National Councillor Rudolf Rechsteiner. It is also possible to see how a ‘business as usual’ scenario would play out.
Calculations are based on transparent, verifiable data and all assumptions are disclosed. Axpo continues to develop the ‘power switcher’, which can be found at powerswitcher.axpo.com
Discover the facts, background to and interdependencies of the energy transition at axpo.com/energy-transition. You can also listen to the latest Energy Voices podcast with Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga (in German).