A new report published by the Swiss Energy Foundation has made it clear that Switzerland cannot afford not to transition to renewables by looking at the overall cost of not transitioning to renewables and lower consumption.
Switzerland’s Energy Foundation has completed their own study (unhelpfully published only in German – PDF) and found that not transitioning to an all renewable energy plan would be even more expensive than doing so.
Transitioning to renewables will prove a less expensive option no later than 2040, based on the most reliable scenarios for traditional-energy prices through the next few decades. That date could even be pulled forward if fossil fuel prices increase above expectations.
The following chart, though rendered only in German, shows the point at which the cost of transitioning swaps (Note: “Mehrkosten” means “additional charge”, “Minderkosten” means “cost reduction/reduced cost”, and “Gewinne” means “profits”).
One aspect of this study is the “sufficiency” of the Swiss population. This is essentially the good stewardship of energy use by a population, and was taken into account in the study. Translating from the German highlights pointed out in the Swiss Energy Foundation press release;
Adopting a halved increase in living space per person, 0.5 ° C lower room temperatures and stabilized at the level of passenger-kilometers in 2010 leads to average annual reduction in costs of 0.4 billion CHF per year .
Furthermore, Switzerland is still somewhat dependent upon foreign imports. Currently, almost 40% of the country’s energy is supplied by foreign imports. According to the report, transitioning to renewables will reduce the cost of imports to 16% by 2050, which translates to CHF 7 billion (Swiss francs) worth of savings for the country.
The reality of the situation is that with energy costs spiking somewhat regularly — in particular those reliant upon imported fossil fuels — we could see a transition to renewable energy as a cheaper and more sensible option by as early as 2030.
From a purely logical point of view, it seems entirely sensible that transitioning to renewable energy would be a cost effective road to take — relying upon technological innovation and environmentally renewing electricity generating techniques over hoping the Earth will continue to give up its fossil fuels and minerals, which require ever more expensive and difficult extraction methods as we chew through the increasingly small quantities. The roadblock is, unsurprisingly, the entrenched fossil fuel and nuclear industries, who have a vested interest in not transitioning.
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