In 2007, the Federal Council based its energy strategy on four pillars: energy efficiency, renewable energy, replacement/construction of new large-scale electricity production facilities (including nuclear power plants), and foreign energy policy.
In the wake of the Fukushima reactor disaster in 2011, the Federal Council and Parliament decided that Switzerland is to withdraw from the use of nuclear energy. This decision, together with various other profound changes in the international energy sector, meant that Switzerland’s overall energy system would have to be restructured. For this purpose, the Federal Council prepared a new energy policy called "Energy Strategy 2050".
On 4 September 2013, the Federal Council submitted a bill to Parliament concerning the total revision of the Federal Energy Act. Parliament adopted the revised Act on 30 September 2016 and the Swiss electorate approved it by a clear majority in a referendum that was held on 21 May 2017. The new Federal Energy Act entered into force on 1 January 2018.
But the implementation of Energy Strategy 2050 also requires amendments to other legal and policy instruments:
Electricity Networks Strategy: to facilitate the further development of the electricity networks, in December 2017 Parliament adopted amendments to the Federal Electricity Act and the Federal Electricity Supply Act.
Climate policy: in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Switzerland undertook a commitment to halve its greenhouse gas emissions versus the 1990 level by 2030. To accomplish this, the existing Federal CO2 Act has to be revised for the period beyond 2020. The corresponding bill is currently being debated in Parliament. Then in 2019 the Federal Council resolved that, as of 2050, Switzerland is to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero (zero net emissions target). This means it is aiming to meet the internationally agreed goal of limiting global climate warming to a maximum of 1.5° C versus the pre-industrial period.
Revision of the Federal Electricity Supply Act: the aim behind the ongoing revision of the Federal Electricity Supply Act is to bring about the full liberalisation of the electricity market. At the same time, the Federal Energy Act is also to be adapted. Here, the intention is to implement measures to support the liberalisation of the market by providing more attractive incentives for investing in domestic renewable energy, and thus to strengthen Switzerland’s supply security.