Swiss Cleantech businesses have expertise in the following areas:
- Technologies to harness solar power
- Run-of-river power stations
- Fermentation technology
- Heat pumps and turbines
Swiss industrial companies long ago took on the challenges of energy efficiency and climate change. In fact, they have become key suppliers in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Thanks to Alpine glaciers and over 1,500 lakes as well as major rivers such as the Rhine and Rhone, Switzerland has six percent of Europe’s supply of fresh water. In fact, water is the biggest energy source in this country and it is used intensively, accounting for 56 percent of Switzerland’s total electricity production. When compared to other European countries, Switzerland comes out on top. For example, the amount of electricity generated from renewable energies in Germany amounts to a mere 26 percent; more than 43 percent is still produced from coal and brown coal. In France, 58 nuclear power plants produce more than 78 percent of the country’s electricity. Switzerland has invested a lot of money over the past decades in water power. The Grande Dixence in the Valais Alps, for example, is the tallest dam in the world at 285 meters. The second largest renewable source of electricity after water is domestic waste which now generates 3 percent of Switzerland’s electricity supply, significantly more than in other countries. In addition, waste fuels a large proportion of district heating in Switzerland. The SwissEnergy program was launched in 1990 to support energy efficiency and develop technologies which use renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal energy, wood and biomass as well as small hydro-power plants.
A symbol of this strategy are the two wind turbines near Andermatt in Canton Uri. At 2332 meters above sea level they were, until recently, the highest wind farm in Europe. Since September 2011, there has been a new record holder in Gries (Canton Valais). At an altitude of 2,465 meters above sea level, this is now the highest source of wind energy in Europe.