Switzerland Aims for Greener Energy

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Swiss ski resorts will use a deal of energy this winter and they have been asked to reduce consumption. For the future the country is looking to greater use of renewable energy with the debate now raging. NEW

Switzerland is looking at increased use of solar, wind and hydro power.

The snow’s reflection in the Alps could even allow double-sided photovoltaic units to harvest more energy as light is from the sun and then hits the snow so is reflected off it too.

The Swiss share of renewables is about a quarter of its total energy supply.

This puts it ahead of France and Germany but behind Norway and Iceland, according to data from the Paris-based OECD.

In Switzerland currently around 60% of domestic electricity production come from hydro.

The Swiss Energy Minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, has said that Europe’s energy crisis has made the country “much more aware that we have to have more production and more storage in our country. We have to expand renewable energy.”

We reported on the issue earlier as the government pledged £2.9 billion for new initiatives:

The money will be spent on several initiatives:

  • Subsidising a network of alpine photovoltaic plants.
  • The replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with sustainable alternatives.
  • The insulation and renovation of buildings.
  • Solar panels on new buildings.

In terms of solar panels required on new buildings, some say it is so full of caveats that about 70% of buildings may be exempt.

The government is temporarily easing water-use rules to let some hydropower plants boost capacity.

It is releasing petrol, diesel, heating oil and kerosene from its strategic reserves.

“It’s not possible to cover all remaining Alps with hydropower schemes. That would be too much,” said the head of hydropower production at energy company Alpiq, Amédée Murisier.

“But certainly in a few selected spots, there is potential. And we need that.”

Some fear that an increase in solar energy farms will blight the Swiss landscape.

Switzerland in the summer

Switzerland in the summer. Image © PlanetSKI

The managing director at the SES Swiss energy foundation, Nils Epprecht, has said he wants solar power to be pursued with limits that protect nature and biodiversity should be respected.

“The risk is they throw the baby out with the bath water,” he says. But he describes the recent  package as “acceptable”.

The high summer temperatures that have melted the Swiss glaciers by xx & are a double-edged sword for environmentalists.

They regret the melting of the glaciers, but the melting has filed the reservoirs allowing greater use of hydro-electricity meaning less requirement of fossil fuels.

However, with predictions of widespread melting of the glaciers it could be a short-term and unsustainable gain as the glaciers disappear.

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This article was originally published by Planetski.eu. Read the original article here.

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