Researchers outline Swiss energy independence


Lausanne – Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and HES-SO Valais have developed a model of the Swiss energy system for 2050. CO2 neutrality is therefore just as possible as energy independence – with falling costs.

Switzerland can achieve a CO2-neutral energy system and energy independence by 2050. This is the result of a study conducted by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne(EPFL) and the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland Valais(HES-SO Valais). To this end, they have modeled a possible future energy system, according to a media release.

The researchers found that for this system to work, Switzerland would have to use previously untapped local and renewable energy sources. Such a system would be as much as 30 to 32 percent cheaper than the current energy system. This would be based mainly on imports. “In contrast, the future system we modeled is based on local investments and the use of our own resources, and seems to be the most economical and resilient choice in the long term,” François Maréchal, who led the team of researchers from EPFL’s Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering group, is quoted as saying.

A key to the realization of this system are photovoltaic systems on roof surfaces. “Switzerland still has a largely untapped PV potential on already built-up areas,” says Jonas Schnidrig, lead author of the study. “An economic optimum could be achieved if less than two out of three roofs are covered. The next step is to figure out which roofs are best.” In addition, storage plays an important role: “The study suggests that solar power production, which dominates in summer, could be optimally balanced by the use of wind turbines, which produce mainly in winter, together with hydropower and biomass,” EPFL said. ce/jh