Swiss minister pushes for renewable energy to replace gas imports

Sommaruga (left) during the opening of a water power plant at Nant de Drance in the Swiss mountains last month. © Keystone/Laurent Gillieron

Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has warned of possible shortages of natural gas in Switzerland during the winter months.

This content was published on July 3, 2022 - 11:28

She said the government prepared made plans to prevent energy blackouts due to a drop in Russian gas imports in the context of war in Ukraine. But it was impossible to guarantee sufficient supplies for the about Swiss 300,000 households with gas heating systems.

“The situation is unpredictable. […] Switzerland is not an island,” she said in an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper. Sommaruga was referring to Switzerland’s dependency of gas import from neighbouring Germany.

She added that in a worst-case scenario, the government would impose restrictions for the use of gas, notably for the industry. Private households were not the main focus of potential cutbacks.

Switzerland is in better position when it comes to domestic energy production, notably with hydro-energy, according to Sommaruga.

She urged critics of the government’s energy policy in parliament to drop their opposition against plans to push for renewable energy, including solar and wind power.

Sommaruga’s warning is the latest in a series of warnings and comes in the wake of the government’s announcement last week that it might resort to gas rationing if other measures were insufficient.

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