Industry requires guaranteed uninterrupted electricity supplies at all times and electricity prices that are internationally competitive. Swissmem and scienceindustries have concluded that the «Energy Strategy 2050» does not take sufficient account of these requirements, and are fundamentally opposed to significant elements of the strategy:
- The «Energy Strategy 2050» does not satisfactorily answer the question of how, against a backdrop of rising demand for electricity, it will be possible to compensate for the loss of nuclear power (40% of total electricity production) without jeopardizing security of supply. Switzerland will thus be confronted with the problem of being obliged to buy in large amounts of electricity from abroad, especially in winter. As things stand today, however, the necessary bilateral trade agreement has yet to be signed with the EU.
- Swissmem and scienceindustries disagree with the further expansion of subsidies for renewable energies. Experience in Germany has shown that the large-scale, subsidy-driven promotion of stochastic power generation (in particular wind and solar generation) impairs security of supply and reduces the cost-efficiency of energy production.The politically motivated, centrally planned increases in the price of electricity and energy that Switzerland has unilaterally introduced will threaten the international competitiveness of its exporting industry. Even today, industrial electricity prices in Switzerland are already significantly higher than elsewhere in Europe. Adding further to the cost of electricity by increasing CO2 taxes and the 'feed-in remuneration at cost' (KEV) tariff is unacceptable given that the exporting industries already find themselves in a difficult situation.
- The same is true of the intention to replace the current taxes on non-renewable energy sources with an incentive tax as of 2020. Any energy incentive tax introduced by Switzerland alone would result in huge increases in electricity and energy prices compared with other countries and thus greatly impair Switzerland's international competitiveness as a location for research and industry.
- A legal ban on next-generation nuclear power stations – i.e. a technology that does not even exist yet – does not make any sense and is therefore not only unnecessary but wrong.
- Moreover, it is imperative that the «Energy Strategy 2050» be legitimized by the Swiss people in a referendum.
Support for the expansion of hydropower and grid infrastructure
Swissmem and scienceindustries are willing to agree to measures to increase energy efficiency if such measures are in line with the market. Incentive models and competitive tendering are a good fit with the strategic direction pursued by the companies in the industries for some years now. The industries further support the expansion of hydropower, the restructuring and extension of grid infrastructure and faster construction approval procedures for electricity generating stations and electricity grids.
Approaches to a solution from an industry perspective
To achieve a future-proof, guaranteed supply of electricity at prices that are competitive on an international level, the following measures are required from an industry perspective:
- The rapid and complete liberalization of the electricity market;
- Improved access to the European electricity market by means of a bilateral electricity agreement between Switzerland and the EU;
- Simplified, accelerated construction and operation procedures for all kinds of power stations and electricity grids;
- Framework conditions that facilitate rapid construction and cost-efficient operation of gas power stations;
- The removal of obstacles to improving energy efficiency;
- Strong energy research that is open to all technologies and does not impose bans on individual sources of energy;
- Development of renewable energies in line with the market, i.e. no expansion of subsidies, but start-up financing for a limited period.
Zurich, 10 December 2012
For further information please contact:
Ivo Zimmermann, Head of Communications Swissmem
Tel.: +41 (0)44 384 48 50 / mobile: +41 79 580 04 84
Marcel Sennhauser, Director of Communications, scienceindustries
Tel.: +41 44 368 17 44
e-mail: marcel.sennhausernoSpam@scienceindustries.chAbout Switzerland’s mechanical and electrical engineering industries (MEM industries)
With over 340,000 employees, the MEM industries are by far the largest industrial employer in Switzerland. In 2011, they generated around 9.2% of GDP and exported goods worth CHF 68.5 billion, representing approximately 35% of all goods exports from Switzerland. Almost 80 % of the MEM industries’ output is exported. Since 1990, the MEM industries have lowered their energy requirements by 43.1% while achieving a massive increase in added value. Over the same period, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 55%. The companies in the MEM industries consume more than 7.5% of all electricity produced in Switzerland.
About the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech industries
The approximately 250 member companies of scienceindustries generate more than 98% of their sales abroad and, as Switzerland's largest exporting industry, are responsible for almost 40% of the country’s total exports and more than 44% of its private research expenditure. The member companies of scienceindustries consume some 5% of total Swiss electricity production and, despite production growth of about 15% a year, have been able to keep their electricity consumption practically stable since 1990, while at the same time cutting their CO2 emissions by more than 12%.