One of the well known characteristics of the Swiss government is its pragmatic approach to decision making. Hope is never their preferred strategy.
Recently, instead of hoping that conservation or renewable energy sources would supply their future needs, the Swiss government indicated that it would be building some new gas fired plants as an interim measure while they began planning for new nuclear power plants.
A 21 February article on Swissinfo.org titled Government sticks with nuclear power describes the decision and some reactions to it. Here is the simple statement of fact from the energy minister:
“The replacement or building of new nuclear power stations is necessary,” said Energy Minister Moritz Leuenberger in Bern on Wednesday as he presented the cabinet’s new energy policy.
Not surprisingly the announcement met with a considerable level of support:
The Swiss Business Federation, economiesuisse, said though that the government hadn’t gone far enough with policy, adding that trying to improve efficiency and boost renewable energies would not make enough of a difference to counter a power shortfall.
Switzerland’s electricity producers said for their part that all their demands had now been met and that they could go ahead with their projects for new nuclear power stations.
Of course, the usual suspects weighed in with their tired prescriptions that have been tried for the past twenty years.
For Switzerland’s Green Party, the government’s strategy is too cautious and wrong in some cases. It said the cabinet’s decision on nuclear power was in contradiction with a sustainable energy policy.
For the ecological Swiss Energy Foundation, the government’s choice is not acceptable and lacks vision, while Greenpeace Switzerland said that the decision to stick with nuclear power was a policy that continued to encourage energy wastage.
Without draconian energy conservation mandates, there is little room in the Swiss economy to reduce energy expenditures. Swiss frugality is almost as well renowned as Swiss practicality.