National Council backs renewables


Bern – The National Council has approved the decree to streamline procedures for the approval of large power plants for renewable energies. The right of appeal of associations remains intact. On the other hand, the National Council rejected a softening of the ban on new nuclear power plants.

The National Council has approved a planned amendment to the Energy Act, which will streamline the procedures for planning and building large power plants for renewable energies. The so-called acceleration decree was approved by the Council of First Instance by 137 votes to 56 with 3 abstentions, the parliamentary services reported in a press release. According to the decree, in future the cantons will be solely responsible for approving the construction, expansion or renewal of such facilities. After the National Council, the Council of States will now deal with the bill.

A proposal by the SVP and FDP to relax the ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants was rejected at the same time. The National Council voted against softening the ban by 101 votes to 90 with 5 abstentions. During the debate, Energy Minister Albert Rösti called for the energy transition to be implemented through the expansion of renewable energy. The nuclear energy debate should be conducted as part of the popular initiative “Electricity for all at all times (stop the blackout)”.

“In the interests of a bill with majority support”, the National Council has also refrained from making major changes to the bill with regard to the rights of objection of siting municipalities and environmental or nature conservation associations, according to the press release. Cantons may declare the consent of the municipalities in which they are located to be a prerequisite for approval. The right of appeal of associations is not restricted in the new procedure either. ce/hs