The new Energy Act costs a fortune, sets unattainable targets and would deprive citizens of their decision-making powers on an unprecedented scale. Instead of solving the current problems of the electricity sector, it will actually make them even worse.
Our country currently has an excellent supply of energy. The new law, also known as Energy Strategy 2050, would turn this upside down, with serious consequences.
Energy spending would increase dramatically. Government subsidies for solar and wind power currently cost about CHF800 million ($795 million) a year. Adopting the energy law would push these up to CHF1.2 billion. Consumers will be shelling out for the costs through their electricity bills.
If the Energy law is adopted, politicians will then be able to increase these subsidies to achieve the exorbitant expansion targets for renewable energies that the act stipulates. For instance, 1,000 wind turbines each 200 metres high are set to be built – three times the size of the Grossmünster church in Zurich – which would spoil our beautiful countryside.
The total cost of the transformation amounts to around CHF200 billion according to the government. That equates to CHF600 per person annually over 30 years or the cost of ten alpine railway tunnels.
Consumption level 50 years ago
The energy law would force us to drastically reduce our energy consumption, even though Switzerland is already one of the most energy-efficient countries in the world. The law requires us to practically halve our energy consumption (while the population is growing, of course,) which would take it back to 1960s levels.
The energy law does not say how this would be achieved. Once it is adopted, the politicians can then decide this later on without asking the general public. It is clear that this would lead to stringent regulations and endless taxes.
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The state would be impinging on our private life. For example, new oil-fired heaters would be banned. Strict building regulations would significantly increase the cost of living. If the Greens have it their way, people would be put off driving and flying by greenhouse gas taxes.
Finally, it would seriously threaten the security of our power supply. Our needs cannot be covered by irregular solar and wind power alone. Making up the difference would require massive energy reservoirs that do not yet exist and that would cost an enormous amount of money.
We would risk nationwide blackouts in winter, when we need a particularly large amount of electricity, very little power would be being produced by our solar and wind plants and our neighbours, who are also switching over their power supply, would not be able to provide us with any more.
Switzerland would have to build gas-fired power stations, which the government has planned for but is now keeping secret. It is obvious that new gas-fired power stations or imports of German coal-based power would increase CO2 emissions.
Bankruptcy and nationalisation are currently threatening our electricity suppliers. The price of electricity is rising and we are increasingly relying on imported power in the winter. Rather than solving any of these problems, the energy law would make them even worse.
The solution: reject the energy law to avoid causing unnecessary additional damage and issue an immediate instruction to the government to instigate temporary, effective emergency measures, specifically for hydropower, so that our reliable, CO2-free domestic electricity production can be saved for the benefit of everyone.
At the same time – and this is no contradiction – the legislator must gradually withdraw from energy supply matters so that the electricity market, which is currently virtually powerless can recover and the market forces which have made our country prosperous and strong can flourish again.
Anyone who wants to keep our liberal, secure and inexpensive energy supply will therefore be voting No on 21 May.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of swissinfo.ch.
Translated from German, swissinfo.ch