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Better cooperation of national politics and local geothermal projects needed in Switzerland

Flag thrower, Switzerland (source: flckr/ Jessica Gardner, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 6 Jan 2020

A new study shows that better coordination on national/ federal, cantonal and local level is needed to push and increase acceptance of geothermal development in Switzerland.

A new scientific article examines the roles of the federal government, cantons and cities in geothermal energy. The authors’ conclusion: better coordination between national politics and local projects is needed. The newly created platform by Geothermie Switzerland for the exchange of experiences in geothermal energy can take on exactly this role. (Text auf Deutsch, Texts en français)

The study shows that funding instruments and political support (“top-down”) from the federal government and the cantons alone were not sufficient to achieve acceptance for a local geothermal project. The national authorities would do well to respond even better to regional peculiarities and to draw on the experience of project promoters at community level (“bottom-up”).

A systematic and multilateral exchange

According to the authors, an exchange between the various levels of government should take place systematically and multilaterally in order to promote the national learning process. A better flow of information between the Confederation and the cantons enables national policies to be adapted more quickly to the needs and opportunities of the cantons. For this purpose, the authors propose the establishment of a permanent exchange platform led by the federal government, analogous to the PLANAT natural hazards platform.

The article by Olivier Ejderyan, Franziska Ruef and Michael Stauffacher “Entanglement of Top-Down and Bottom-Up: Sociotechnical Innovation Pathways of Geothermal Energy in Switzerland” is available on the website of the science magazine Journal of Environment and Development.

Text: Geothermal Switzerland via EE-News