Following the reactor disaster of Fukushima in 2011 the Federal Council and Parliament decided on Switzerland‘s progressive withdrawal from nuclear energy production. This decision, together with further far-reaching changes in the international energy environment, requires an upgrading of the Swiss energy system. For this purpose the Federal Council has developed the Energy Strategy 2050. This continues and intensifies the strategic thrust of the Energy Strategy 2007 with new objectives. What is basically new is that the existing five nuclear power plates are to be shut down at the end of their technically safe operating life and not replaced.
On 4 September 2013 the Federal Council submitted to Parliament the first set of measures in the Energy Strategy 2050. The Council wishes to significantly develop the existing potential for energy efficiency and exploit the potential of hydro power and the new renewable energies (sun, wind, geothermal, biomass). The set of measures entail a total revision of the Energy Law as well as changes in various other Federal laws. Parliament approved the draft in a final vote on 30 September 2016. The referendum request against the first set of measures has been successful. The popular vote will take place on 21 May 2017.
Parliament has already strengthened the development of renewable energies through an amendment to the Energy Law that came into force at the beginning of 2014 (Parliamentary Initiative 12.400). Equally, the action plan Energy Research is already in force. On 13 April 2016 the Federal Council submitted to Parliament a separate draft bill on the further development of the power grid (Power Grid Strategy).
In a second stage of the Energy Strategy 2050 the Federal Council wishes to replace the existing support system by a management system. On 28 October 2015 it sent Parliament a corresponding draft of a constitutional article for consideration. The National Council, as the first chamber, decided on 8 March 2017 not to consider the proposal.