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Previously existing programmes


During the 20th century, little attention was paid to small hydropower plants, even though these often indicated considerable potential and were also economical to operate. Instead, attention was focused primarily on large-scale hydropower power plants on rivers and in the mountains.

It was the PACER (Programme d'Action Energies Renouvelables) impulse programme initiated by the former Federal Office of Economic Affairs (now State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO) that set out to shift the focus to small hydropower. PACER was initiated in 1990 and concluded in 1996. By providing detailed information and decision-making bases for owners of water rights, municipalities, cantonal authorities, engineers and entrepreneurs, it drew attention to the well-developed technology of hydropower and extended it to areas in which it was little used at that time.

One of the important accomplishments of PACER was its preparation of a series of publications that are now regarded as authoritative reference works on hydropower in Switzerland.

DIANE 10 project to promote small hydropower plants

Within the scope of the Energy 2000 programme, the predecessor of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy initiated seven projects during the 1990s aimed at achieving a breakthrough in innovative energy technologies ("DIANE" stands for Durchbruch Innovativer Neuer Energietechniken).  The DIANE 10 project was a comprehensive promotion programme with a budget of 3 million Swiss francs and a duration of six years, which represented a unique opportunity for this sector. It was supplemented by direct financial support for small hydropower plants from the former federal energy authority.

DIANE 10 promoted small hydropower plants, primarily on the demand side.  For this purpose it studied potentials and analysed obstacles to small hydropower, and identified possible solutions. Thanks to systematic media activity, the degree of public acceptance of small hydropower plants was greatly increased. DIANE also offered information and advisory services, and created a variety of tools. The results were put into practice at conferences and in the form of a series of publications.

After the DIANE programme had been concluded, the SFOE continued its promotion efforts within the scope of the Small Hydropower programme.

Related documents

PACER publications
DIANE publications
Contact: Martin Bölli
Last update: 08.10.2009

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