On May 21, 2017, Swiss citizens voted for the implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050 and thus broadly approved the national focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and nuclear phaseout. Yet, the question remains: how exactly should the electricity generation portfolio of the future look like in the eyes of the Swiss citizens?

The Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione Energy project RIGOROuS, among other research questions, investigates the public, stakeholder and expert preferences for the Swiss electricity portfolio with the focus on its health, safety, natural and built environment impacts and risks.

In July 2017, the project team conducted a series of workshops with 46 citizens from the German-speaking part of Switzerland on their preferred electricity portfolio for 2035. In contrast to the absolute majority of opinion studies, the project team engaged these 46 citizens into a process of learning about electricity system by means of factsheets, a web-based electricity portfolio builder Riskmeter, and group discussions. As a result, these 46 Swiss citizens were turned into a panel of informed Swiss citizens.

The preliminary results reveal differences between the preference judgements of the same citizens before the information process and afterwards. For example, when these 46 citizens created their preferred Swiss electricity portfolios before any information, they prioritized large hydropower and solar power, along with electricity savings and other renewable energy technologies. Net electricity imports and construction of large gas power plants were the least preferred options. After going through the whole information process, the same citizens in principle kept the broad preferences for hydropower and solar power, but adjusted their expectation towards other renewable technologies to account for their realistic potentials in Switzerland. The figure below shows the preferred electricity portfolio for 2035 as an average of these 46 informed citizens.

This is what these informed citizens thought. And what do YOU think?

The project team would like to know your preferred Swiss electricity portfolio for 2035. Please submit your portfolio by using Riskmeter and filling a short survey (less than 5 minutes).

Go to Riskmeter (available in German, English, and French)

Web-based tool Riskmeter and depiction of the preferred Swiss electricity portfolio for 2035 as an average of 46 informed Swiss citizens. Please note that the average values gloss over the variety in individual judgements: although the average portfolio includes two nuclear power plants, 29 out of 46 citizens had no nuclear in their portfolios. Source: RIGOROuS project.
Examples of informational material used in the workshops. Source: RIGOROuS project.

The ESC member involved in this project is Dr. Evelina Trutnevyte. Dr. Evelina Trutnevyte as well as scientific assistants Sandra Volken and Georgios Xexakis are located within D-USYS Transdisciplinarity Lab and focus on energy systems analysis and decision making.