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Wind Energy in Switzerland

2020 wind energy numbers

By the end of 2020, Switzerland had 42 large wind turbines in operation with a total rated power of 87 MW. These turbines produced 146 GWh of electricity in 2020. The construction of a new wind farm with a capacity of 12 MW began in 2019; it is operational by end of 2020, increasing the total wind power capacity by 15%.

A cost-covering feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy in Switzerland has been in place since 2009. This policy promotes wind energy and has led to an increase in new wind energy projects. Financing is currently requested for an additional 3.3 TWh under the FIT scheme.

Internationally cross-linked research activities in 2020 focused on cold climates, complex terrain, aviation cohabitation and social acceptance.

To learn more about wind energy in Switzerland, please review their chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2020 Annual Report.

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Megawatt

Total wind power capacity is 87 MW.
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Megawatt

Wind power capacity in Switzerland increased by 12 MW in 2020.
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Terawatt-time

Switzerland produces 0.146 TWh from wind energy, which accounts for 0.2% of the country’s electricity consumption.

National Targets

The Energy Strategy foresees an additional 22.6 TWh/yr from renewable energy by 2050. Wind energy should contribute 4.3 TWh/yr to this target (with intermediate goals of 0.3 TWh in 2025 and 1.2 TWh in 2035).

Since the introduction of the FIT in 2009, wind projects with an estimated energy yield of 128.1 GWh are in operation and being supported under the scheme; additional projects with a potential energy yield of 1,739 GWh have been registered, and 1,594 GWh are on the waiting list. At the end of 2020, wind projects with an electricity production of 104.1 GWh are being supported using the direct commercialization subsidies, while 0.6 GWh still benefit of a reference market price.

The recent Energy Strategy 2050 has several implications for wind energy development in Switzerland. The new legislative package increases the budget for Switzerland’s cost-covering feed-in tariff for renewable energy. Renewable resources include hydropower (up to 10 MW), photovoltaics, wind energy, geothermal energy, and biomass.

Progress & Operational Details

Approximately 59% of Switzerland’s overall electricity production comes from renewable sources, with hydropower by far the biggest contributor (95%). Wind power generation currently provides 0.2% of Swiss electricity consumption. End of 2020, new turbines were installed; the production figure will grow by about 16-20 GWh in 2021 due to the commissioning of one high-altitude wind farm with estimated capacity factor of 15-20%. Projects that are already in advanced planning stages represent an additional 360 MW, while early-stage projects represent roughly 600 MW.

National RDD Priorities and Budget

The priorities of the research term 2017 to 2022 remain valid for 2020. These priorities are:

  • Performance optimization per turbine and farm via turbine optimization, control optimization, and wind farm design;
  • Reduction of turbine downtimes through technical optimization, icing protection, wind forecasts, and understanding of avifauna behavior; and
  • Acceptance of wind power. This includes accelerating research between wind power and other fields (such as ornithology or noise research) and promoting stronger cooperation between federal offices and institutes.

In 2020, the budget for wind energy related R&D and demonstration projects from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy was approximately 0.5 million CHF (0.44 million EUR; 0.53 million USD). Within the national Swiss Energy program, approximately 0.4 million CHF (0.37 million EUR; 0.45 million USD) were allocated to the wind energy sector for information activities, quality assurance measures, and for the support of regional and communal planning authorities. Budget wise, 2021 trend is the same as for 2020, with hope of a slight increase in the Swiss energy program for wind energy.

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