Wind Energy in Switzerland

Wind Power in Switzerland

Switzerland has very little in terms of non-hydro renewable energy. Does it see a future for wind power?

Wind is an ancient energy source. For most of recorded history, humans have exploited the wind for navigation, and for powering machines, such as for grinding cereals. In 2015, wind turbines were providing the world with 432.4 GW of electricity.

Since the oil crises in the 1970s, wind has been developed seriously as an alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear for generating electrical power. With the global warming crisis obliging countries to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions, combined with civil protests against nuclear power, particularly in Europe, wind is considered the primary renewable energy hope for a sustainable, environmentally-friendly future.

Nominal generating capacity worldwide (end 2015, Global Wind Statistics):

  • Asia: 175 GW
  • Europe: 147 GW
  • America: 101 GW
  • Global total: 432 GW (63.0 GW new installed 2015)

The world-wide nominal rating in 2015 is more than twice that in 2010 (198 GW), 7 times that in 2005, and 25 times that in 2000.

Added and cumulative capacities, ranked by top 10 countries by installed capacity:

Country Installed /GW Installed /% world 2015 added /GW 2015 added /% world % national (2015)
1. China 145.1 33.6 30.5 48.4 3.3%
2. USA 74.5 17.2 8.6 13.6 4.7%
3. Germany 44.9 10.4 6.0 9.5 13.3%
4. India 25.1 5.8 2.6 4.2 2.5%
5. Spain 23.0 5.3 0 0 19%
6. UK 13.6 3.1 1.0 1.5 11%
7. Canada 11.2 2.6 1.5 2.4 4%
8. France 10.4 2.4 1.1 1.7 3.5% (2014)
9. Italy 9.1 2.1 0.4 0.6 5.4%
10. Brazil 8.7 2.0 2.8 4.4 12.3%
Denmark 5.1 1.2 0.2 0.3 49.2%

Denmark has a plan to increase its wind energy percentage of total electricity generation from 49.2% in 2015 to 50% by 2020, and 84% by 2035. 13.1 GW in 2014. The increase in electricity prices due to the feed-in law was compensated by the reduction in spot market prices due to wind, demonstrating the economical viability of subsidising the start-up phase of the technology.