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Consumer (Co-)Ownership in Renewables in Switzerland

  • Anna Ebers Broughel
  • Alexander Stauch
  • Benjamin Schmid
  • Pascal Vuichard
Chapter

Abstract

Swiss Energy Law (EnG) does not contain specific targets for expansion of consumer (co-)ownership of RES, but it does contain several provisions that encourage and support such (co-)ownership schemes. One of them is an explicit authorization of self-consumption, which states that producers can consume self-generated electricity entirely or partially at the place of generation. Furthermore, the new version of the Federal Energy Law (2016) that was enacted in the beginning of 2018 allows the formation of self-consumption communities. In the future, more institutional investors like pension funds might become active in financing RE infrastructure, due to the new legislation that creates a separate asset class for infrastructure investment. At the time of writing, one chamber of the parliament and the commission of the second chamber have approved this proposal, which makes the legislation likely to pass. Direct ownership of a RE facility is the most widespread form consumer (co-) ownership despite the disadvantage of necessitating the available infrastructure, e.g., an appropriate rooftop for a solar PV installation. Cooperatives are an established vehicle for consumer (co-)ownership both at the national and regional levels. Since 1990, more than a hundred new RE-cooperatives have been founded, which are mainly active in the production of electricity from solar photovoltaics and heat from wood-chips. In 2016, around 30 per cent of the energy cooperatives active in electricity generation were applying self-consumption schemes. In recent years, consumer (co-)ownership provided new opportunities for joint projects of different partners. For example, an installer, often a non-for-profit start-up, develops a renewable energy project and partners with the utility to sell the project’s shares to the utility’s clients. The utility, in turn, delivers the produced ‘green’ electricity to their clients through their grid and manages the billing.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Ebers Broughel
    • 1
  • Alexander Stauch
    • 1
  • Benjamin Schmid
    • 2
  • Pascal Vuichard
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWÖ-HSG)Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies, University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Economics and Social Sciences, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland

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