Switzerland

Switzerland

Guaranteed premium looks on the cards -- Switzerland slow

With just two turbines installed last year, Switzerland's total wind capacity by the end of 2005 was 11.57 MW, capable of generating 15 GWh of electricity. It is a slow start to meeting the country's Concept Wind Energy Switzerland, introduced in mid-2004 with the support of the federal government.

The concept, which targets annual wind generation of 50-100 GWh by 2010, plans for another five to ten wind farms to bring cumulative capacity to around 80 MW. Twelve suitable sites have been identified. A further 16 sites have been earmarked separately by cantons and parishes. Together the 28 possible sites for wind development have the potential to produce 316 GWh/year, or three times the 50-100 GWh/year of wind power targeted by in the concept plan for 2010, says Swiss wind energy association Suisse-Eole.

Meanwhile, Switzerland is feeling its way towards liberalisation of the energy market, including a new arrangement for renewable energy support. In September, the Swiss parliament voted in favour of an amendment to Swiss energy law setting a target for an additional 5.4 TWh of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2030, facilitated by 20 year power purchase contracts at a fixed price.

The SFR 165 million (EUR 107 million) cost of the program is to be raised via a levy of no more than SFR 0.003/kWh (EUR 0.002/kWh) on the price of conventional power. No single technology can command more than 50% of the funds.

The Council of States, composed of 46 members representing the Cantons, is currently preparing its response to the plan. Its commission for environment, regional planning and energy favours long term standard offer contracts, although says it is not completely ruling out setting a mandate for the proportion of renewable energy in the power supply mix as the basis for a market in renewable energy certificates. It does, however, reject outright any form of government-led competitive tendering for power purchase contracts. In view of the drawn-out consultation processes, new arrangements are unlikely to take effect before 2007.

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