On December 2021, the Swiss government allocated CHF 45.4 million to three hydro projects.
Switzerland’s electricity production was once dominated by hydro. In 1970, 90% of the electricity produced in Switzerland was generated using hydro. The remainder came from nuclear (5%) and fossil fuels (5%). Roll forward to 2020 and hydro makes up only 58% of production, with 5% produced from other renewables, 33% from nuclear and 5% from fossil fuels.
Between 1970 and 2020, hydro electricity production rose 30% from 31,273 GWh to 40,616 GWh. At the same time total production more than doubled from 34,886 GWh to 69,923 GWh to meet demand. Going forward the challenge of producing enough clean electricity will intensify. Electric cars are constantly being added to the grid and Switzerland is phasing out its nuclear production. In addition, Switzerland’s population is expected to hit 10.5 million by 2050 after rising 39% from 6.2 million to 8.6 million between 1970 and 2020.
The CHF 45.3 million will be invested in three hydro projects: Handeck 2 and Spitallamm run by Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG and a the repair project Vissoie de la Forces Motrices run by Gougra SA. The money represents around 26% of the costs of construction work.
In 2018, Switzerland introduced new laws that allow the federal government to invest up to CHF 50 million every year in subsidising the construction and renovation of hydro-electrical generation.
Handeck 2 is expected to add 226 MW to the grid. Spitallmamm is a replacement dam project and Vissoie a repair project to get an existing hydro installation operating again.