For many decades Switzerland has used hydro-electric power as one of its main renewable energy sources. Today, more than 55% of domestic electricity production comes from hydro-power sources.
In 2018, more than 650 hydropower plants producing an average of approx. 36,448 GWh per year, are being operated within Switzerland. More than 85% of these hydropower plants are run-of-river power plants; the other 15% consist of storage power plants, with around 2% in pumped storage plants. The Swiss government intends to continue promoting hydropower, in particular by supporting the renovation and expansion of existing plants in order to increase their efficiency. However, the construction of new hydropower plants is rather unlikely in view of the current number of existing plants and restrictions from environmental laws, nature and landscape protection regulations, and other factors.
In recent years, other renewable energies such as solar, wood, biomass, wind, geothermal energy and ambient heat have gained an increasing share of Switzerland’s energy supply – in 2018, 4% of the annual domestic electricity production originated from such other renewable energies. However, it would take many years for most of these renewable energies to become economically competitive without supporting measures. In particular, the substantial potential of photovoltaic (PV) and geothermal energy will only become fully exploitable in the coming decades.