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Vote May 21, 2017 Counting on Swiss energy

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Switzerland will produce more secure, cleaner and cheaper energy as a result of the Energy Strategy 2050. The investments being made in the Swiss energy system will create jobs and help the country grow and prosper.

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By Gianni Operto

On 21 May, we will be voting on the first set of measures for the Energy Strategy 2050, marking the end of a five-year debate. Opponents of the government’s energy policy are out in force, claiming that our power supply would be recklessly jeopardised as a result and we would incur huge costs.

Both arguments are false and misinterpret the realities of the situation. Much of the economy, including organisations like the Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the Association for the Swiss Electricity Industry and the interest group Swiss Retail support the Energy Strategy and see it as a logical way forward into a reliable and affordable energy future. The government, a majority of parliament, cantons, towns and cities are also in favour of this very Swiss compromise.

From an economic perspective, it is clear that the Energy Strategy 2050 will bring urgently needed planning and investment security.

Italian energy specialist Gianni Operto (born 1954) holds a degree in mechanical engineering from ETH Zurich. He has worked as an advisor and manager of firms, foundations and research centres operating in the energy and electricity industry. He has been president of the industry’s umbrella organisation for renewable energies and energy efficiency (AEE Suisse) since 2016. AEE upholds the interests of 24 professional associations and 15,000 businesses and electricity producers.

(AEE Suisse)

It will show Switzerland the way to a modern and secure energy supply. It is a robust and typically Swiss compromise which will be implemented gradually and ensure the country’s long-term prosperity and independence.

Renewable energy systems and an increase in energy efficiency, planned and installed by Swiss companies including many small businesses, will form the foundations of the new energy supply.

While importing fossil and nuclear energy primarily incurs additional costs, modernising our existing energy infrastructure will trigger innovation which will develop our country and make it fit for the future. Countries which miss out on this involvement will quickly and severely lose out on prosperity.

That’s not something we want. A modern and strong Switzerland will therefore need Swiss energy.

Investment and innovation

From the perspective of AEE Suisse, the industry’s umbrella organisation for renewable energies and energy efficiency, there are essentially three reasons to support the Energy Strategy:

The Energy Strategy secures investment and promotes innovation and growth in Switzerland.

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swissinfo.ch publishes op-ed articles by contributors writing on a wide range of topics – Swiss issues or those that impact Switzerland. Over time, the selection of articles will present a diversity of opinions designed to enrich the debate on the issues discussed.

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The energy sector is changing. The switchover to carbon-neutral, renewable energy sources is a global trend. It is also a major opportunity for Switzerland. As a representative of Swiss industry, we are ready to tackle this challenge and successfully put our solution into practice. We have all the resources we need.

Innovation is driving us forward. We are committed to growth and prosperity. What we need is a binding and reliable framework, for which the Energy Strategy will provide the right plan.

Fossil fuel dependence

The Energy Strategy will release Switzerland from its dependence on fossil fuels from abroad in the long term.

Some 75% of the country’s energy supply is reliant on oil and gas from countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Libya. This is costing us around CHF13 billion ($12.9 million) a year – or CHF1,600 per capita. This does not need to be the case.

Investing in developing a modern energy system will create jobs in Switzerland and prevent the one-sided outflow of funds running into the billions. Technological advancement and innovation will enable our country to make progress, something which the Energy Strategy also represents.

Reliable and affordable

The Energy Strategy guarantees a clean, reliable and affordable supply of Swiss energy.

Countries with a modern energy infrastructure and energy-efficient buildings will lead the way in the future. Therefore, we are doing the right thing if we readjust our energy supply and demand accordingly. Energy is essential for any modern society.

So, we must take the local production and supply of energy into our own hands. We have the technology, knowledge and means to actively shape this transition. All the more so with the Energy Strategy, which is a logical way forward into a reliable and affordable energy future.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of swissinfo.ch.


Translated from German, swissinfo.ch

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