Bern – The two chambers of parliament have settled their differences on the federal law on a secure power supply with renewable energies. This should enable hydro, wind and solar power to be expanded to a greater extent in the future.
On September 26, the National Council cleared the way for an agreement with the Council of States on the Federal Act on a Secure Electricity Supply with Renewable Energies. The so-called Energy Decree sets binding targets for the expansion of renewable energies and extends previously limited support instruments. A particular focus is on securing the supply of electricity following the phase-out of nuclear power and, in particular, on the supply of electricity in winter.
Lastly, Kurt Egger (GP/TG) had cleared the way for agreement. According to the minutes of the National Council, he withdrew a minority motion that would have mandated the construction of photovoltaic systems on new parking lots 500 square meters or larger from 2030. Egger also regretted that the new law does not require solar in new buildings until the floor area exceeds 300 square meters.
Previously, the Council of States had accommodated the large chamber. For example, less residual water at hydropower plants may only be permitted if there is an imminent shortage of electricity. The small chamber also approved the introduction of a market for energy efficiency measures proposed by the National Council.
Federal Councilor Albert Rösti thanked both chambers for their ability to compromise. He hoped that the parliament had thus achieved a “medium satisfaction” on all sides. He said the law will result in Switzerland generating 3 to 5 terawatt hours more winter electricity over the next five to 10 years. “Then we are back on the safe side,” Rösti said. However, this would require new hydropower projects, namely Grimsel, Trift and Gorner, as well as alpine solar plants.
The new federal law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2025. But the political debate continues. Kurt Egger, for example, pointed out that the Greens would be launching their solar initiative for mandatory solar on roofs and facades of new buildings. ce/stk