Energy is dealt with in Chapter 7 of the Federal Constitution under the general heading, “Public works, Energy, Transport and Communications”. The main spheres of activity within the Swiss Federal Office of Energy are referred to in the following sections:
The Energy Act and its associated ordinance bear section numbers 730 and 730.01, which form the legal basis for the implementation of the SwissEnergy programme. Nuclear energy is dealt with in section 732, electrical installations in section 734 and pipelines (gas and oil) in section 746.
In certain cases, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy is the relevant authority for approving plans for systems intended for the transport of energy, e.g. pipelines (highest level of authority) and electricity transmission lines (secondary level of authority). In the latter area it deals with plans for which the highest level of authority, the Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations, has not been able to overcome opposition. In the area of nuclear energy, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy is responsible for issuing certain permits, namely those concerning the transport of nuclear fuels.