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A secure energy supply with zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is achievable provided there is a coordinated approach from all energy sectors, according to a report. Strong development of photovoltaics is needed.

In this new report presented to the press in Bern on Thursday, the Swiss Academies of Science underline the importance of implementing a coherent energy policy that connects and optimizes the various market segments, energy sources and short- and long-term storage.

Heat, electricity and fuel networks must also be considered together and synergies explored. This systemic approach is particularly important during the winter semester, underlined Konstantinos Boulouchos, professor at ETH Zurich.

Safeguards and the involvement of all stakeholders are necessary, but above all we need a boost because things often move very slowly in politics, he added.

The report assumes that air traffic must also achieve net zero emissions.

Two worst scenarios

By proposing two worst-case scenarios in the event that no agreement is reached for guaranteed winter electricity imports, the report shows that a net zero-emissions energy supply is also possible without electricity imports.

However, the first scenario, which assumes a complete national energy supply, with the exception of jet fuel, leads to an unrealistic electricity demand and very high costs and environmental consequences.

In the second scenario, the lack of electricity during the winter semester, high temperature industrial heat and fuel for heavy traffic are covered by the import of renewable fuels and fuels (produced with electricity abroad).

This requires less PV development and implies a broadly diversified portfolio of energy sources. Dependence on foreign countries will be significantly reduced compared to today and spread to more countries.

Photovoltaics and hydroelectricity

The energy supply of the future outlined in this way is mainly based on indigenous hydro and photovoltaic energy. Photovoltaic electricity production is expected to increase greatly and grow by at least one gigawatt per year.

Renewable fuels will become the third pillar of winter electricity generation, with more modest contributions from wind and possibly deep geothermal energy.

In suitable regions, renewable fuels and fuels can be produced abroad significantly more efficiently and economically than in Switzerland. Most of them can also be transported and stored easily.

The development of new nuclear technologies should be watched closely, but is unlikely to be able to make a significant contribution until 2050, the authors note.

Efforts in all areas

A net zero-emission energy supply without winter imports involves high financial and environmental costs. That’s why Switzerland should not only aim for an electricity deal with the EU, but start today negotiating agreements with foreign states for the supply of hydrogen and fuels.

Achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement requires efforts at all levels, with steps to be coordinated over time, according to the report. Thus, the renovation of buildings must be carried out before the use of heat pumps, so that electricity needs do not burst through the roof in winter.

The general strategy is as follows for each energy sector: lower demand for energy services, reducing demand from end consumers, increasing the efficiency of household appliances, machines, industrial processes and cars, replacing fossil energy sources with primarily renewable energy sources. .

Recycling in all areas, reusing captured CO2, extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and using technologies that remove CO2 through chemical or biological processes and permanently store it are other measures mentioned.

Mr. Boulouchos noted that to achieve these goals, incentive taxes are preferable to subsidies. However, they must be reduced for vulnerable population groups.

This article was automatically published. source: ats

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