What are the impacts of the SwissEnergy programme on the economy, energy consumption and the environment? Do subsidies for solar installations yield the desired result? To formulate a somewhat more general question, do the various programmes and laws help us achieve our declared objectives, and are energy-policy measures being implemented correctly? With the aid of evaluations the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is endeavouring to find answers to questions of this sort. The SFOE started carrying out evaluations in the 1990s. Evaluation means a proper and professional examination and appraisal.
The legal basis for evaluation is Article 55 of the Federal Energy Act, which obliges the Federal Council to periodically examine implemented measures, publish the results of its studies and report to Parliament. For this purpose the evaluations carried out by the SFOE are coordinated with the process of monitoring Energy Strategy 2050. Furthermore, the evaluations are based on Article 170 (verification of effectiveness) of the Swiss Federal Constitution.
Evaluations should draw attention to weak points and include recommendations concerning ways in which selected energy policy measures can be improved. This means that evaluations function as both a control mechanism and a learning tool. At the same time, they are intended to provide an assessment of the impacts of energy policy measures and thus create the required degree of transparency for the general public, Parliament and the Federal Council.