Swiss voters convincingly approved the country’s new energy policy in a nationwide referendum yesterday, voting by nearly three to two in favour of a gradual withdrawal from nuclear power and the introduction of more renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.
22 of the 26 Swiss cantons (districts) had majorities for Yes, with only Aargau, Glarus, Obwalden and Schwyz voting No.
The policy measures under consideration had been passed by the Federal Council and Parliament last autumn, but opponents resorted to the referendum procedure claiming in particular that the new policy would be very costly, given Switzerland’s dependence on energy imports and the public subsidies required to make some ‘green’ energy sources viable. The conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP) was among those leading the No grouping.
The referendum result is a clear victory for environmental campaigners after an they were defeated in an earlier referendum in November 2016, which had called for a more rapid exit from nuclear power (by 2029). The law agreed yesterday will ban the construction of new nuclear plants, while allowing existing stations to function as long as they are still safe. Meanwhile it will tighten emission controls for vehicles; improve energy efficiency in buildings; encourage biomass, solar, wind and geothermal generation; and enable the subsidy of large-scale hydropower.
Approval of the Energy Law (proposal 612, Federal law of 30.09.2016)
YES 1,321, 947 (58.2 per cent)
NO 949,169 (41.8 per cent)
Turnout 42.4 per cent
Data source: Swiss government official website. ‘Vorlaeufige amtliches Endergebnisse’ from 22.05.2017. Full breakdown of results by canton here.
FOLLOW EPR on Twitter here.
SHARE this article: