Swiss energy saving plan effectiveness grows

Energy 2000 will not reach stabilisation targets overall, new plan to follow next year

Switzerland's "energy 2000" programme for greener energy use has been particularly effective over the past year in reducing emissions and consumption, according to a review by the country's environment ministry.

In its ninth annual report on the decade-long programme, the ministry reports that investments of SFr52.3m (euros 35.6m) in 1998/99 achieved a reduction in energy consumption of 4.3% and cut carbon dioxide emissions by "two to three" million tonnes. The programme created 9,500 new jobs and stimulated SFr 1 billion worth of new investment

For the first time since the programme started, voluntary measures have proved more effective than regulatory measures taking the credit for 56% of the energy savings, 5,600 of the jobs and 64% of the investment.

Looking at the programme since it started, the ministry says that most of the "objectives of the programme will be largely fulfilled". The figures show a mixed bag with heat production from renewables increased by 62% of the 3 percentage point overall target; electricity generation up 88% of the 0.5% target; water power growth achieved to the tune of 85% of the 5% target and the 60% of the targeted nuclear efficiency increase of 10% met.

Energy 2000 aims to stabilise fossil fuel consumption at 1990 levels by the year 2000 and continue to reduce energy consumption. However, fossil fuel consumption went up by 6.1% between 1990 and 1998 electricity use grew by 6.5%. The ministry blames falling fuel prices as well as state funding of only SFr52.3m compared with an expected SFr 170m. Had it not been for the weak Swiss economy in the first half of the 1990s, the growth in electricity consumption would have been higher.

There will be a new programme to follow on from energy 2000 when it expires in September next year. An official at the ministry told ENDS Daily that the amount of state funding available for this will depend on the outcome of a referendum next autumn when the Swiss public will vote on the introduction of an energy tax.

Follow Up:
Swiss environment ministry, tel: +41 31 322 5511.

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