Energy Policy

Switzerland's energy policy is designed to supply the energy the country needs while making it less dependent on fossil fuels and thereby also less dependent on other countries. At the same time, CO2 emissions are to be reduced and the climate targets of the Paris Agreement achieved. The policy measures decided upon were to reduce energy consumption, increase energy efficiency, promote renewable energies and phase out the use of nuclear power.

High-rise building with solar panels in Wittigkofen (canton of Bern).
The use of renewable energies is to be further promoted through financial incentives and communication campaigns. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

There are very few natural sources of power available in Switzerland. The country thus imports 70% of the energy it consumes. Most of these imports are petroleum products, with natural gas, coal and nuclear fuels also imported. Although energy consumption in Switzerland has declined somewhat over the last decade despite population growth, the country's consumption is five times greater than it was in 1950. At one third, transport consumes the most, followed by private households.

Swiss energy policy pursues the goal of ensuring a secure supply of affordable and environmentally friendly energy. The basis for this is the article on energy incorporated into the Federal Constitution in 1990, the Energy Act passed in 1998, and broadened energy-specific legislative provisions.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 prompted Switzerland to pursue an energy transition. The country is doing so through its Energy Strategy 2050. It has three pillars: improving the energy efficiency of buildings, machinery and means of transport; increasing the share of renewable energies; and phasing out nuclear energy.

The SwissEnergy programme, launched in 2001, helps to achieve the goals of Swiss energy policy. The programme's core component is the portal (de/fr/it), which provides the public as well as industry actors with comprehensive information on how to transition to renewable energies, improve energy efficiency and save energy. The programme also includes monetary incentives such as subsidies and tax breaks.

Switzerland has also taken measures in the area of energy research and innovation, such as the establishment and operation of eight national Swiss competence centres for energy research.

The legal bases for Swiss energy policy are constantly being broadened, for example through the CO2 Act, the Nuclear Energy Act and the Electricity Supply Act. For example, a CO2 tax has been levied on oil, gas and coal since 2008. In 2021 the expansion of domestic renewable energies was enshrined in law, a move intended to strengthen Switzerland's security of supply, particularly in winter.