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Swiss renewable energy production on track to meet 2020 targets

Switzerland exceeded its 2020 reduction target for per-capita electricity sales, which were 8% lower than in the reference year 2000. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Switzerland has met some of its short-term green energy goals but faces challenges to become climate neutral by 2050.

This content was published on November 26, 2020 - 13:29
Keystone-SDA/gw

Total energy consumption in 2019 was 18% lower than in the reference year 2000, meaning the country reached its target of a 16% reduction by 2020, according to a monitoring report released by the Federal Office of Energy on Thursday. The Swiss also exceeded their 2020 reduction target for per-capita electricity sales, which were 8% lower than in the reference year 2000.

Hydropower accounted for around 36,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity. In order to meet the 2035 benchmark, production would need to be ramped up by 79 GWh per year. New renewable energies accounted for 6.2% of all electricity produced in 2019 (just under 4,200 GWh), meaning the target of 4,400 GWh for 2020 has almost been reached.

Energy consumption in Switzerland has declined by an average of 1.4% in the last ten years. But to reach the 2035 goal of reducing consumption by 43%, the annual average decrease in future should be 2.2%.

To achieve the ultimate target set out in its Energy Strategy 2050 to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by the middle of this century, Switzerland will need to continue expanding domestic renewable energies. The energy office has developed four possible scenarios. In one, consumption continues as before, which means the country will emit 32 million tonnes of CO2 in 2050, just a 30% reduction from current levels and far short of the net zero target.

The energy law sets out indicative targets for the development of renewable energy and the reduction of energy consumption for the years 2020 and 2035. The third annual monitoring report takes into account the situation at the end of 2019. Any impact of the coronavirus pandemic on energy consumption was for the most part not included in the report, the energy office stated.

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