Blog

The SCCER-SoE launched its new blog in order to regularly provide exclusive insights and opinions on current developments in the field of geo-energy and hydropower in Switzerland.

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#8 Weather-sensitive hydropower

June 2017 - by Manfred Stähli

No year resembles the other regarding electricity production from hydropower. This is principally due to weather conditions, what often is neglected in the discussion about the targets of the future energy production. However, for the domestic electricity supply, these weather caused fluctuations may be a greater challenge than the long-term capacity increase through existing and new hydropower plants – especially in winter.

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#7 What future for small hydropower in Switzerland?

February 2017 - by Cécile Münch-Alligné

Small hydropower provides 5 % of our electricity produced in Switzerland and has great potential to grow. The fact that it had its revival and could advance in the 90s has to be linked to the support measures by the confederation. Nowadays, is this support sufficient to ensure that small hydropower retains its place in our future energy mix? Which role can research play?

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#6 Geothermal storage for our cities

December 2016 - by Ueli Wieland

For thirty years, geothermal probes and heat pumps have provided an effective alternative for heating houses with oil. Switzerland is a frontrunner in this field. I have used a geothermal probe at home for seven years and had nothing but good experiences. Despite their success, the sales of geothermal probes have stagnated for the first time since 2015. This is due to the interference of multiple probes in close proximity. So what now?

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#5 How can we deal with sediments to keep hydropower sustainable?

November 2016 - by Robert Boes

Hydropower is the most important source of renewable electric energy worldwide, but it’s not uncommon that it has to face a serious challenge: sediments that get deposited in storage lakes or increase the erosion of hydraulic turbines. Many countermeasures can be taken to minimize these negative effects, but they need to be optimized site-specifically. To keep hydropower plants operational for as long as possible, researchers are developing new methods of monitoring sediments in real time, while also expanding their knowledge on how sediments are transported, deposited, and removed and how machinery is subject to sediment-induced wear.

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#4 Geothermal Energy – A Community Effort

October 2016 - by Michèle Marti and Stefan Wiemer

How to use the Earth’s interior heat in an environmentally friendly, economically successful and sustainable way? Switzerland is considering this question in its Energy Strategy 2050, and it’s far from alone – the wider European community is also making sure geothermal energy is part of the future energy mix. The international project DESTRESS will evaluate methods and feasibility.

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#3 Does Switzerland need more dams and reservoirs?

August 2016 - by Anton J. Schleiss

The facilities and production of future hydropower projects must be more flexible in order to successfully face an uncertain market and to increase the security of supply in Switzerland. This can be accomplished by enhancing existing power plants, expanding existing reservoirs by dam heightening, and constructing new pumped storage facilities.

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#2 Hydropower in Switzerland – meeting the challenges of the future?

July 2016 - by François Avellan

The collapse of the wholesale electricity market in 2015 is bringing pressure to bear on the economic model of our power stations. This happened at a time when there was never a greater need to exploit and develop the use of our main source of primary energy: hydropower.

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#1 It’s time to go geothermal!

June 2016 - by Domenico Giardini

Swiss authorities and society at large are actively discussing the national future energy strategy. We have still not solved the basic problem: how will we produce the electricity we need in the near future after the decommissioning of our nuclear power plants?

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