Switzerland can afford energy independence

The energy crisis, what crisis? Thanks to a mild autumn but also to a European economy heading towards a recession, fears of shortages and a possible winter rationing of electricity are diminishing – and that’s good.

Haven’t we once again cried wolf for nothing? Nothing is less certain, as a simple restart of the Chinese economy combined with the gradual evaporation of European gas stocks would reverse the trend.

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There is undoubtedly a part of political game in the gesticulations observed these last months. The Axpo, Alpiq, BKW… have understood that after having eaten their black bread for a decade, during which the current was selling off, their time had come. However, it would be dangerous to stop at such considerations and to slow down the momentum that has taken hold of Switzerland, finally shattering its demons and its contradictions – not being in the European Union but taking advantage of its electricity market; get out of nuclear while delaying paving its roofs with photovoltaic panels; run to court as soon as a wind turbine appears on the horizon.

Speed ​​up the tempo

At the beginning of February, while peace still reigned in Ukraine, the Confederation showed vision by opening a consultation to speed up the appeal procedures for wind and hydroelectricity. This initiative should be extended to other sources, such as geothermal energy. In Geneva, as in other regions, this solution can be part of the package that will lead Switzerland towards energy autonomy and security.

Because time is running out, public authorities have other weapons at their disposal to catch up with Switzerland: give priority to outstanding files, increase the number of staff assigned to processing them. Stated like this, these measures seem trivial. They are far from being so for the craftsmen of hundreds of projects who are chomping at the bit and unable to move forward. As for those who are not there yet, inspiring examples show that transforming the potential opponents of the stakeholders of the work can work miracles.

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Because the question is no longer whether Switzerland wants to conquer its independence to supply its population and its businesses, but how it intends to do so in record time. Being reduced to banking on economic downturns or the sweat of our planet just to be able to take a few hot baths is certainly the last thing our country craves.

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