22 May Swiss voters back government renewable energy plan
Voters in Switzerland have supported the government’s plan to provide billions of dollars of subsidies for renewable energy and ban new power plants, in a recent binding referendum.
Support for the proposed national energy plan stood at around 58.2% under the Swiss system of direct democracy, where voters are given a final say on major policies.
“The results shows the population wants a new energy policy and does not want any new nuclear plants,” said Energy Minister Doris Leuthard.
“The law leads our country into a modern energy future.”
Under the law, the government will raise 480 million francs (US$495 million) annually from electricity users to fund investment in wind, solar and hydro power projects.
In particular, the wind and solar power industries have been projected to increase four-fold by 2035, which necessitates the need for greater investment in the renewables sector.
The move to ban new nuclear plants imitates rising currents across Europe, with Germany aiming to phase out nuclear power by 2022, while Austria banned it decades ago.