Licensing procedures

Appropriately dimensioned network infrastructure (power lines, transformers, switching stations, etc.) has to be available in order to maintain a secure electricity supply. The construction of electricity supply infrastructure can affect both public and private interests, and electricity transmission lines can endanger people as well as damage property. In view of this, an official licence is required for the installation of all electrical systems and facilities. The corresponding licensing procedures for electrical systems and facilities (spatial coordination and planning approval procedures) form an integral part of the network development process defined in the applicable legislation.

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The fundamentals (including region, corridor, technology) of transmission lines in the 220/380 kV network, which have a significant spatial and environmental impact, have to be specified in the Transmission Lines sectoral plan prior to the planning approval procedure. In the sectoral plan procedure, the relevant authority has to determine how a proposed power line can best be embedded in the landscape and meet the applicable spatial planning and environmental protection requirements. The sectoral plan procedure only applies to lines in the Swiss transmission network (network level 1), i.e. it does not apply to other systems and installations in the general electricity supply system (network levels 2 to 7). For further information about the sectoral plan procedure, see “Links” tab.

Electrical systems are licensed via the planning approval procedure, which in terms of concept and purpose corresponds to the cantonal construction licence procedures. For further information about the planning approval procedure, see “Links” tab.

Participation opportunities

In accordance with Article 9a of the Electricity Supply Act (SR 734.7), the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) informs the public about the most important aspects of network development and the opportunities for participating in the approval procedure.

In the sectoral plan process, interested persons and organisations can submit comments and statements of position within the scope of the consultation and participation procedure. Information concerning the implementation of the procedure is provided to the population via local official publications and the Federal Gazette. Objections cannot be lodged against specifications in the sectoral plan.

In the planning approval procedure, natural and legal entities who feel their legitimate interests are affected by the project may submit an objection. This right also applies to communes and certain environmental protection organisations designated by the Federal Council. Persons or entities who have submitted an objection against the planning approval are also entitled to appeal against the subsequent planning approval ruling.

Last modification 12.07.2021

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