The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

People’s Party adopts ‘no’ position on the energy decree

The Swiss People's Party (SVP) has issued a "no" vote on the energy decree. In doing so, it is leaving its own Federal Council out in the cold. The bill will be put to the vote on June 9.

At the SVP delegates' meeting in Langenthal BE, SVP Federal Councillor Albert Rösti campaigned for the legislative package. An electricity shortage is still a major risk for the country. It is important that Switzerland is able to increase its electricity production, as this is the only way the country can strengthen its sovereignty, said Rösti.

He promised the skeptics in his own ranks that the law would not allow Switzerland to be paved over with wind and solar power plants. Zones would be created where such an expansion would be possible.

However, if the law is rejected, applications for such facilities could be submitted anywhere. The law is therefore also channeling. Furthermore, projects could only be realized if the affected municipalities agreed, Rösti emphasized. The law enables investments, for example as part of the Solar Express in the Alpine region.

Many systems and costs for little electricity

Solar and wind power do not provide a secure power supply, countered National Councillor and Deputy Party President Magdalena Martullo-Blocher. It is not just a few wind turbines and solar plants. Rather, 9,000 wind turbines and solar plants with an area five times the size of Lake Zurich are needed.

"Lots of wind turbines and solar panels for little electricity," was Martullo-Blocher's conclusion. She was firmly against the bill.

Numerous critics and supporters of the bill expressed their views in a lively debate. SVP Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, for example, emphasized that the law was the only alternative to reduce dependence on foreign countries and the risk of an electricity shortage.

Many critics feared a disfigurement of the landscape and a loss of municipal autonomy. The populous cities would do very little for electricity production. Once again, this is mainly happening in the countryside, said Zurich cantonal councillor Domenik Ledergerber. "I don't want my home to be ruined for this", he said.

"If we say no, we won't simply build a new nuclear power plant tomorrow," said former Bernese National Councillor Adrian Amstutz. In the meantime, measures such as those provided for in the energy decree are needed.

The party leadership had recommended that the delegates vote against. Numerous members of the Federal Assembly campaigned for a Yes vote. In the end, however, the delegates voted clearly against with 242 votes in favor, 149 against and six abstentions. A motion to abstain from voting had previously been defeated.

©Keystone/SDA

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