The Swiss Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications plans to amend the country’s electricity supply law (LApEl) to open up the national energy market from the beginning of 2021, in line with the Federal Council’s decision to do so, announced at a meeting last week.
The government has also decided to offer additional support for renewable energy by providing the electricity industry with greater planning and investment security, while strengthening supply security. The revision of the energy law (LEne) will therefore be opened up for consultation until July 12.
The Federal Council plans to amend the law by emphasizing that “the existing indicative values with regard to the development of hydropower and other renewable energies to be achieved by 2035 will be declared as binding targets.”
As a result, subsidies for PV arrays, biomass installations, and hydroelectric power projects currently limited to 2030 will be extended until the end of 2035. A target will also be enshrined in law for the period up to 2050.
In the future, owners of new wind farms, small hydropower plants, biogas projects, and geothermal facilities will be able to request subsidies to cover planning costs.
In the solar sector, current FIT rates – paid on a fixed basis for large PV installations – will be replaced by feed-in premiums to be awarded in auctions. Producers who can generate a given quantity of solar energy at lower costs will be awarded contracts.
The cost of the redesigned incentive measures (all renewable) will amount to around CHF 215 million (USD 221.2 million) per year. Incentives will be financed via a levy collected on the network.
The government has also decided that large consumers (more than 100,000 kWh per year), households and small businesses will be able to freely choose their electricity suppliers.
The Federal Council hopes that the restructuring of the electricity market will strengthen decentralized electricity production, which will in turn facilitate better integration of renewable energy. Solar energy producers, for example, will be able to locally sell surplus electricity. The opening of the market will therefore facilitate the rise of local solutions, such as local electricity markets or energy communities.