Switzerland looks set to become the latest country to abolish its nuclear energy programme after its Government announced last week that it would be nuclear free by 2034. The news is a boon to solar, which will look to fill the void left by an industry that currently accounts for 39.9% of the land-locked country’s electricity production.
Under the proposal, existing nuclear power stations will be decommissioned at the end of their operational lifespan and will not be replaced by new reactors. This is the latest blow to an industry left reeling from the fallout of the accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan that was left stricken by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March; in recent weeks Germany, Italy, Thailand and Malaysia are among the countries that have opted to freeze or forgo plans to build nuclear power stations.
Under its Energy Strategy 2050 plan, hydropower, which already makes up approximately 56% of Switzerland's energy portfolio, and other renewables will be increased substantially to help fill the shortfall left by nuclear. However, the increase in the amount of solar and wind power will require the restructuring of its electricity infrastructure by turning transmission networks into smart grids.