News 2017

German TV documentary on dam safety
The crew of the ZDF broadcast "planet e." visited, amongst other places, the Grande Dixence dam in the Valais with Georges Darbre from the SFOE and the Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions at the EPFL with José Pedro Matos and Anton Schleiss. The documentary focuses on the safety of dams, especially under future conditions of glacier and permafrost melting possibly causing rock fall and dam break. Click here to watch the documentary in full length or to pick out the above mentioned excerpts starting at minutes 01:30, 13:40, 31:20 and 41:56. August 2017

Newsletter "Swiss electricity production in a period of change"
The sixth issue of our newsletter (in German and French) examines the changing conditions of electricity production in Switzerland with an article on the revised Energy Act, a blog post on weather-sensitive hydropower, and an interview about the new Joint Activity "Scenarios & Modelling". July 2017

Weather-sensitive hydropower
Did you know that the reservoirs in Switzerland produced 13.7 percent less electricity in 2016 than in the previous year? Read our new blog post by Manfred Stähli from the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL to learn more about these weather-dependent fluctuations in hydropower production. The post is available in English, German, and French. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and to recommend our blog to interested people. June 2017

Joint Activity kicked off
On 29 and 30 May 2017, modelling teams from all eight SCCERs convened at Kloster Kappel to officially start the Joint Activity Scenarios & Modelling (JA-S&M). The objective of JA-S&M is to generate robust scenarios for the realization of the Energy Strategy 2050. It will give answers to a number of relevant questions: Which will be the key technical elements of the energy system in 2050? How can the development be guided by policy measures? What is the impact on the Swiss economy as a whole, and on the Swiss citizens? Two work streams have been started, namely (1) a harmonization and efficient exchange of scenario input data (e.g. costs, time series of production and consumption), and (2) the definition of a first set of scenarios to be used by the various modelling teams. The mid-term target is to have first results by spring 2018, and to share and discuss these at a national scenario benchmarking workshop. May 2017

Curtain up for our phase 1 highlights
Do you wonder what the SCCER-SoE achieved in its first phase lasting from 2013 to 2016? Then have a look at our collection of research highlights. It offers insights into burning questions, promising opportunities, key challenges, and potential solutions in the domains of geo-energy and hydropower. April 2017

Swiss wish for a renewable energy future
Within the NRP 71 „Managing Energy Consumption“, a survey with nearly 8’300 participants conducted by the Institute of Political Science (University of Bern) shows that the Swiss population strongly supports the installation of additional renewable electricity plants in the future. In detail, nearly 80% advocate the construction of new large-scale hydropower plants, and almost 60% are in favor for using geothermal energy and small-scale hydropower. In Western Switzerland, the acceptance for geothermal power plants is higher compared to other parts of the country. Least desired are electricity imports and the construction of new nuclear and gas power plants. Find out more about the project and its results. April 2017

Newsletter "Putting knowledge into practice"
The fifth issue of our newsletter (in German and French) starts off by introducing the second phase of the SCCER-SoE, which started in January 2017. It continues by providing various insights into our pilot and demonstration projects about sediments in reservoirs, geothermal energy in Geneva, small hydropower, and the ISC experiment in the Grimsel rock lab. April 2017

Doris Leuthard praises geothermal energy
The association “Geothermie-Schweiz” had an in-depth talk with the President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard about the potentials of geothermal energy in Switzerland. Whereas Switzerland already has a leading role in the use of shallow geothermal energy, there is still a wide scope regarding the exploitation of deep geothermal energy. She sees a voting in favour of the Energy Strategy 2050 in May 2017 as an essential condition to further explore deep geothermal energy in Switzerland. Click here to read the interview in German, French, or Italian. February 2017

Hydropower around the world with a spotlight on Switzerland
A special report by CNBC provides insights into numerous, important aspects of hydropower worldwide. Apart from taking you to Brazil, Nepal, and the UK, Cécile Münch-Alligné from the HES-SO Valais-Wallis as well as Anton Schleiss and Giovanni De Cesare from the LCH at EPFL bring you to their labs and present their fields of research. Watch the first part  (Swiss contributions starting at 6:05 and 12:18) and the second part of the TV show (Swiss contributions starting at 4:14). February 2017

Turbine prototype under test
For the first time in Switzerland, a prototype of a turbine to produce electricity solely out of the current of a river (without a dam) is being tested in the tailrace channel of the Lavey power plant (VD). The test will last for six months and show if an industrialization is possible. Cécile Alligné-Münch's team at the HES-SO Valais-Wallis expects the turbine to produce 8000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is equivalent to the consumption of two housholds. Learn more about the turbine and the test in the following TV and newspaper articles:

#7 SCCER-SoE Blog
Small but powerful! This is the motto of our new blog post by hydropower expert Cécile Alligné-Münch from the HES-SO Valais-Wallis. She writes about the importance and potential of small hydropower in Switzerland nowadays and in the future. The post is available in English, German, and French. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and recommend our blog to interested people. February 2017

Rapid growth in renewables worldwide
The International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA highlighted many interesting facts during its 7th Assembly. In 2015, the increase of renewable electricity generation capacities was for the first time higher than the one of conventional capacities. Emerging and developing countries even overtook the OECD countries. New photovoltaic systems with an overall capacitiy of 70 gigawatt were installed, and 2016 brought the breakthrough for offshore wind turbines. Find out more about this big event and latest developments on the SFOE Blog and IRENA’s Twitter page. January 2017