Switzerland sets important example

Many of us knew energy efficiency funds coming from Switzerland. One of the best known is SUSI Partners. It is encouraging to see in a news item on the Swissinfo.ch website that the country was named the top global investor in energy efficiency. Now we need more to follow its lead.

Switzerland named top global investor in energy efficiency

Switzerland has climbed a spot to second place on the latest Energy Transition Index produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The country tops the ranking for investments in energy efficiency.

The report “Fostering Energy Efficient Transition 2019”, released on March 25th, includes the Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks countries on the performance of their energy system and their readiness for a transition to a sustainable and affordable energy system.

Switzerland came in just behind Sweden but overtook Norway. Finland and Denmark followed in fourth and fifth place respectively. European countries dominate the top ten. Uruguay was the first non-European country in the ranking, coming 11th. Zimbabwe, South Africa and Haiti rounded out the ranking of 115 countries.

In the two major categories, Switzerland comes third in energy systems performance and fourth in terms of preparing for the energy transition. In addition to investments in energy efficiency, it is first in other areas, including the electrification rate and the share of energy subsidies in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The country also performs well when it comes to transport infrastructure and the quality of education as well as the availability of technologies and the low share of electricity from coal or fossil fuel reserves. On the other hand, energy imports and per capita energy use are areas for improvement.

Blackout risk

In an interview in Monday’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Jens Alder, CEO of Lausanne-based energy services company Alpiq, warned of Switzerland’s dependence on energy imports.

“Security of supply in Switzerland is no longer guaranteed without power agreements,” he said, referring to current discussions with the EU. “The risk of a blackout has risen sharply and will continue to rise in the coming years.”

The WEF report notes that global progress towards environmental sustainability has slowed. While energy access has improved in the past few years, energy costs have risen and sustainability has decreased.

Three years after the Paris Climate agreement, the authors say “this lack of progress provides a reality check on the adequacy of ongoing efforts and the scale of the challenge”.

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