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Climate change targets Swiss power firms produce more CO2

electricity pylon in Swiss mountains

Switzerland aims to phase out its nuclear plants and make its energy cleaner.

(Keystone)

CO2 emissions from Switzerland’s four biggest power supply companies rose by more than a third in 2017, while more than two-thirds of their electricity came from fossil and nuclear sources, according to a new report. 

The report by Swiss Energy Foundation SESexternal link looks at power supplied by the Alpiq, Axpo, BKW and Repower companies. 

Their electricity came 41.3% from nuclear and 27.8% from coal or gas power plants, SES said on Friday. This makes them “dirtier” than the Swiss national average, according to SES. At national level, energy production comes 60% from hydro and 32% from nuclear. 

The rest of the firms' electricity was from renewable sources, mostly hydro (26,5%). Wind power represented 3.7% of the four companies’ power production, while solar power represented an “almost negligible” 0.1%. Other renewable sources like biomass (0.2%) and small hydro (0.5%) were also minimal. 

All of the firms’ hydroelectric power plants are in Switzerland, but about half their nuclear power is produced in France. Their gas power stations are in Italy. 

The findings go against environmental objectives, said Moritz Bandhauer of SES in a statement on Friday. Given Switzerland’s ban on construction of new nuclear plants, he said the end of nuclear power was only a matter of time. 

+Read more about Swiss energy policy

Bandhauer of SES said it was urgent to invest more in renewable energy sources to ensure that nuclear power is not replaced by relatively cheap electricity from fossil fuel sources. 

He said the Paris Agreement on climate change also made it urgent to find alternatives to fossil fuels. 

SDA-ATS/JC

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