Feed-in remuneration scheme
With effect from 2009, operators of facilities producing electricity from solar, wind and geothermal energy, as well as biomass, have been able to apply for feed-in remuneration. This system has now been made more market-oriented in that the majority of producers have to sell their electricity directly on the market. The support scheme is also valid for a limited period: feed-in remuneration for new facilities can only be approved until the end of 2022.
Contributions towards investment costs
Operators of small and large photovoltaic systems can apply for one-off remuneration, i.e. a non-recurring contribution towards the investment costs of the facility. This non-recurring remuneration covers a maximum of 30 percent of the investment costs of a comparable facility (reference system). Contributions towards investment costs are also available for new large hydropower plants (with an output exceeding 10 megawatts), as well as for the major renovation or expansion of existing hydropower plants. Contributions towards investment costs, as well as non-recurring remuneration, will be applicable until the end of 2030.
Support for existing large hydropower plants
In the first half of the 2010s, the prices on the European electricity market fell so sharply that they were too low to cover the production costs of the majority of Switzerland’s hydropower plants. In view of this, the National Council and the Council of States resolved to support existing hydropower plants in the form of a market premium, which may be applied for by operators of large hydropower plants for electricity that has to be sold on the market at prices below the production costs. This market premium will be applicable until the end of 2022.
It is sometimes the case that the production of electricity from renewable sources could conflict with the protection of nature and landscapes. If a court has to choose between the interests of protection and use, under the applicable legislation both of these – protection and use – enjoy the status of a national interest, which means an acceptable balance has to be found.
In the future, licensing procedures for facilities for the production of electricity from renewable sources are to be shortened and simplified. Here, a deadline will now apply for the submission of expert reports from organisations such as the Federal Commission for the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage.