The energy article in the Swiss Federal Constitution, the Energy Act, the CO2 Act, the Nuclear Energy Act and the Electricity Supply Act are all integral parts of the instruments for defining a sustainable and modern Swiss energy policy. But in addition to legal instruments, the energy policies of the federal government and the cantons are also based on the presentation of energy perspectives as well as on strategies, implementation programmes and the evaluation of energy-related measures at the municipal, cantonal and federal levels.
Energy policy was only anchored in the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1990, when an Energy Article was added stipulating that the federal government and the cantons are obliged to use their competencies to ensure an adequate, broad-based, secure, economical and ecological energy supply, and the economical and efficient use of energy. This comprehensive list of requirements places high demands on energy policy at the federal and cantonal levels, and simultaneously demonstrates how difficult it is to find suitable solutions.
Since 1990, all cantons have drawn up their own energy legislation and regulations, and with the enactment of the Federal Energy Act and the Federal Energy Ordinance on 1 January 1999, the Federal Council fulfilled the mandate it had received following the approval by the electorate of the Energy Article in 1990.