While Switzerland makes the most of the hydro generation potential of its snowy mountains, it scores less well on wind and solar generation.
In a Europe-wide comparison by the Swiss Energy Foundation (SEF), Switzerland ranks near the bottom for per capita solar and wind power production. In addition, growth in solar is slow and growth in wind has stagnated.
Out of 28 countries Switzerland came 25th with only 250kWh of electricity produced from wind and solar per person per year. This is enough to run a dishwasher for a year and covers only 3.7% of the total electricity consumed in Switzerland.
Only Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Latvia trail Switzerland in per capita solar and wind production.
- Swiss roofs could produce over 80% of the nation’s electricity (Le News)
- 62% of electricity consumed in Switzerland from renewable sources (Le News)
Denmark leads with 2,500kWh per person per year produced from wind and solar, ten times Swiss output, and sufficient to cover almost half of the nation’s electricity consumption. Germany comes second with 1,905kWh per person per year.
According to the Swiss Federal Office for Energy, Swiss roofs and facades have the potential to generate 67TWh of electricity more than 60TWh consumed in the country every year.
Switzerland’s incentive structure is the chief reason for Switzerland’s lack of progress, argues SEF. Incentives are temporary and many projects are stuck on waiting lists. This makes investment in these technologies financially risky and unappealing.
Perhaps also, Switzerland’s high percentage of hydro production (58%) lulls it into a sense of environmental complacency.
However, if Switzerland combined the clean-energy bounty brought by its snowy mountains with a per capita solar and wind output similar to Denmark’s, its electricity could be 94% clean.