Safe, clean and community-integrated energy: which way forward for Switzerland?

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Institutional Communication Service

29 April 2024

Swiss citizens are set to vote on 9 June in a referendum on the Federal Act for a secure electricity supply from renewable energies. The act, also known as the "umbrella act for the electricity sector", will establish the groundwork for Switzerland to progress towards climate neutrality. This follows the Climate Act passed in June 2023. The act proposes a way to tackle the challenge of quickly increasing the use of renewable electricity sources without causing an increase in electricity bills and minimising the impact of new plants on ecosystems and landscapes.

The reason behind the referendum was the concern expressed by some observers about the negative impact of constructing new renewable energy plants on the landscape and specific sites of high natural value, despite the widespread agreement on the need to increase the use of renewable energy sources. The measures proposed in the umbrella act and the federal government's adopted strategy acknowledge the emotional, cultural, and recreational value of specific natural sites, as well as the importance of protecting delicate ecosystems. At the same time, they also recognise the threat that global warming poses to these same landscapes and ecosystems due to the current energy production and consumption patterns.

The Institute for Economic Research (IRE), which has been following energy and environmental issues since 2017 through its Public Finance and Energy Observatory (O-FPE), is organising an information event open to all on 21 May 2024 to make available the best scientific evidence for deciding on this delicate and complex issue and offer an opportunity for discussion and dialogue between researchers, experts from institutions, and citizens.

The event will open with a contribution from Alessandra Motz, a researcher at IRE who has been working for years on the social acceptance of the energy transition. In her research, Alessandra Motz uses statistical models to measure which characteristics of the policies or technologies available for the transition are most appreciated by citizens and to understand how certain behaviours or psychological attitudes of individuals can direct their choices on energy.

The discussion will then be furthered with a round table discussion featuring Giovanni Bernasconi (Dipartimento del Territorio), Edy Losa (AET), Rolf Endriss (AEM) and Andrea Prati (AIL), who will bring the point of view of the institutions and companies that daily face the challenge of designing a community-friendly energy transition. The conversation will be moderated by Prof. Barbara Antonioli Mantegazzini, vice director of IRE and energy expert. It will be marked by an informal atmosphere open to a constructive exchange with the audience.

IRE hopes to contribute to an informed debate, making the reflections developed by the researchers, the analyses carried out by IRE for the Canton of Ticino, and the considerations of those who, in their work, are confronted daily with the difficulties of an ecological transition that is undeniable, but complex and multifaceted.

Registration is required to participate in the event via the following link: registration.

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L'interdisciplinarietà come chiave di lettura per l'inclusività

Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society