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Due to a dispute with the EU: Coming soon gas-fired power plants?

Switzerland will continue to Need gas-fired combined cycle power plants, in order to secure your power supply? Six years ago, the Federal Council has made in his message to the energy strategy 2050 and the step nuclear phase-out, point clear, he put "if necessary" fossil, that is to say: CO2-intensive electricity production and, therefore, a "limited number" of gas-fired power plants. This is for the case that the Expansion of renewable energies, as well as the power savings would not make the desired progress. Critics spoke of a threat to the Swiss climate policy.

The question is thus not new, but now receives a new dimension – not only with a view to the ongoing climate debate. Researchers at the ETH Lausanne and the University of St. Gallen examined in the framework of the "National research programme energy", what the consequences should failure of the negotiations, Switzerland and the EU on an electricity agreement. Without such a contract, the published this Morning, finding that it could not come "in Switzerland in the long term, to investment in gas-fired power plants, in particular, if the Expansion of renewable energies is strongly supported politically, and thus will be promoted".

How come the authors to support this assumption? The current agreement would, inter alia, strengthen the network security, cross-border electricity trade rules, as well as the safety standards harmonize – all important elements for the electricity hub, Switzerland rotation. However, the agreement is blocked for years. The EU makes it conditional on the fact that Switzerland concluded with her an institutional framework agreement. However, it is not clear when and whether the framework agreement is concluded. In Switzerland, there is currently no political majority for it.

Up to one billion Swiss francs

The lack of agreement has consequences, not allowed to join in the country of Switzerland in a number of important areas: in The so-called Market-Coupling such as a power and transmission capacity are traded, respectively, on the previous day. Although the electricity works trading also so on, he, as well as the balancing of the electricity grid to be more difficult and more expensive, as the authors of the study hold. You expect that the price of Electricity up to 2030 will increase by 1.5 to 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, a higher trade deficit of several Hundred million Swiss francs per year up to a billion Swiss francs in the year 2030 for the Swiss energy sector as a whole.

Switzerland, continue to warn the authors of the study, could not rely on it to always have enough power to import – and certainly not without a current agreement. The reason is that other countries in Europe are faced with the question of how you can put your power supply in the long term, such as Germany, the folds 2022-out of nuclear power and the Coal phase-in 2038 you are aiming for. In addition, the EU is pushing forward its internal energy market: The EU countries will trade their electricity in the future in a larger scope than to date each other – what will most likely go at the expense of the import capacity in the direction of Switzerland.

"If we are to take security of supply seriously, we need a Plan B." - Matthias Finger, Professor at the ETH Lausanne

And now the crucial point comes: With the construction of one or more gas-fired combined cycle power plants in Switzerland could reduce its dependence on foreign countries and also a new source, the so-called band energy, thus predictable weather-independent power. The Elcom is the independent state regulatory authority over the electricity sector, has not commented on the Option of gas-fired power plants, but in General: "With a view on the Goodwill of neighbouring countries, it would be quite helpful if you could produce the electricity in case of emergency, also in Switzerland."

Matthias Finger from EPFL, co-author of the NFP study, "energy," doubts that the current agreement within a reasonable period of time will come about. "If we are to take security of supply seriously, we need a Plan B." Politically, the Situation is deadlocked. The negotiations on the electricity agreement are suspended, confirmed by the Swiss Federal office of energy (sfoe).

Swissgrid is working on new contracts

On a technical level, important Work is underway. How can be included the Switzerland without an agreement on Electricity in the coordination of the flows of electricity? Questions of this kind are addressed in a private-law contract of the Swiss transmission grid operator Swissgrid and the Association of European transmission system operators in April signed.

"We can improve the technical solutions", says Swissgrid-specialist Jörg Spicker. But this requires a further contracts. Swissgrid was quiet in mind, with their foreign partners, the Elevator. Also legal questions such as whether Swiss or EU law is applied and how dispute resolution should work however. "Here we meet with no policy limits," says Spicker. Similarly, the sfoe estimates the situation: "The network security can only be in the European context will be ensured." In order to eliminate the existing uncertainties, a comprehensive market access agreement within the meaning of the current agreement will be essential.

Even Left an Option

The new study is fueling a debate that want to lead the proponents of the energy strategy will never be right: the phase-out of nuclear energy to a CO2-filled power supply? To gas-fired power plants, it has been a long time still. But now they appear as an energy policy Option, even in left-green circles. SP national councillor Roger Nordmann calls for reasons of climate protection, the Decarbonisation of transport. The need for more electricity arises, he wants to cover with solar panels, but the has its price. To have even in the Winter, enough energy it needs, according to the North's assessment of necessary electricity from gas-fired power plants.

the opponents of The energy strategy confirmed: "gas-fired power plants, as well as increased network expansion for the purpose of Import will be a stopgap, something I regret very much," says FDP-Nationalrat Christian Wasserfallen. But the little goal-oriented energy strategy 2050 of Switzerland probably no other choice, with or without a current agreement.

Created: 05.12.2019, 11:35 PM

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