Renewable energy in Valais: Actors gathered around a table

Renewable energy in Valais: Actors gathered around a table
Renewable energy in Valais: Actors gathered around a table

Valais wants to plan future renewable energy production projects. A first contact, bringing together all the stakeholders, took place on Tuesday evening and should be followed by negotiations. The Alpine solar park projects, born in the wake of SolarExpress, are not concerned.

This round table brought together stakeholders in energy production and transportation, representatives of the political world (canton and municipalities concerned) as well as environmental defense circles, Rachel Duroux, president, told Keystone-ATS. of the cantonal solar task force which organized this first meeting. It lasted two hours and brought together around fifty people.

During this meeting, the canton recalled the legal framework within which the projects could see the light of day and explained what the acceptance, by the Swiss people at the beginning of June, of the new law on the supply of electricity based on renewable energies meant . This requires cantons to identify areas that could accommodate infrastructure producing renewable energies and to include them in their master plan, explains Rachel Duroux.

“This list of suitable places will be based on precise criteria which will be negotiated between the different stakeholders during subsequent discussions,” she adds. In other words: the canton will decide, via the cantonal master plan, the suitable areas in which project leaders can then submit an application for building authorization.

After this first temperature measurement, rounds of negotiations must follow. “The expectations are there, the pressure too,” notes Rachel Duroux, who cannot yet articulate a timetable.

No prioritization

This round table was requested by the Grand Council of Valais when the race for subsidies had been launched by the federal energy law amended urgently (SolarExpress) which aims to boost the production of solar energy at altitude, especially in winter. In November 2022, parliament thus accepted a postulate aiming to “achieve as quickly as possible a joint declaration including a selection of Valais projects to be carried out quickly in the field of large photovoltaic installations at altitude”.

But the discussions will not focus on projects launched urgently in the wake of SolarExpress, legislation which removed the need for planning at the cantonal level, notes Rachel Duroux. “If the file meets the legal criteria, the competent authority cannot refuse it. It cannot wait to see if other projects – perhaps better – are submitted to it,” she adds.

The canton does not intend to prioritize projects arising from the Solarexpress, but according to the president of the cantonal solar task force, these will prioritize themselves given the technical, procedural and economic constraints. To obtain the federal windfall, the installation must produce, at the end of 2025, 10% of the expected production, she recalls.

This article was automatically published. Source: ats



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