New renewable energy
In addition to improvements in energy efficiency and the withdrawal from nuclear energy, the development of renewable energies constitutes a pillar of sustainable climate and energy policy. Alongside hydropower, which has for many years played a crucial role with respect to the supply of electricity, new renewables – solar energy, wood, biomass, wind energy, geothermal energy and ambient heat – will have to make an increased contribution towards Switzerland’s supply of energy in the future.
In 2017, the production of electricity from new renewable energy sources (solar energy, biomass, biogas, wind energy, waste) amounted to 3,653 GWh, which is equivalent to 6.4 per cent of Switzerland’s net electricity production. This share is relatively low considering the significant potential for production from new renewable sources. In view of this, the status is defined as medium.
However, developments over the past ten years have been pleasing. The positive trend should now continue thanks to the measures defined in the Energy Strategy 2050 aimed at promoting the production of electricity from new renewable energy sources:
- Restructuring of previous cost-oriented feed-in remuneration to feed-in remuneration with direct marketing for power from solar energy, wind energy, biomass, geothermal energy and small hydropower plants;
- Investment contributions towards hydropower and biomass facilities, as well as photovoltaic systems.
- Raising the status for the use and expansion of renewable energies to ‘national interest’. (Installations of a certain size and importance enjoy equivalent consideration as the protection of nature and landscapes in weighing up the public interest.)
Renewable energy can also contribute towards the production of heat (cf. graph ‘Heat’). Since 1990, the use of heat from renewable energy sources has increased sharply and in 2017 reached 16,692 GWh (figure adjusted for climate factors). Wood combustion accounts for 50 per cent of the heat obtained from renewable sources, while waste heat from incineration plants accounts for 14 per cent and heat pumps (energy obtained from the environment: air, water, soil) for around 29 per cent.
- Related indicators
The data published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) depict the production of electricity and heat in various countries by energy source. An international comparison should also include the proportion of renewable energy to total electricity / heat production.
The indicator is based on data from Switzerland's overall energy statistics, which are collected on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). The renewable energy statistics indicate the degree of conversion from the various sources (sun, wood, ambient heat, etc.) to electricity and district heat. See Annex E to the Swiss renewable energy statistics.