The Federal CO2 Act
The CO2 Act lays out the Federal Government’s climate policy. Switzerland is aiming for a 20-per cent cut in its CO2 emissions by 2020. The business sector is required to make its contribution through a CO2 tax on its use of fossil fuels. The EnAW guarantees the cost-effective implementation of this commitment. Companies engaged in certain activities can obtain a waiver of the CO2 tax. To do so, they must enter into a commitment with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to lower their CO2 emissions. One basis for reaching a target agreement is participation in the EnAW SME or energy model. The CO2 tax can be waived only for companies engaged in activities expressly laid out in the CO2 Ordinance and with annual CO2emissions of at least 100 tonnes. This is roughly equivalent to 38 000 litres of heating oil or 500 000 kWh of natural gas.
The Federal Energy Act
The Energy Act contemplates, inter alia, financial contributions for the promotion of renewable energies (KEV). The contributions are financed by means of network surcharges and amount to 1.5 cents per KWh at the most. «Power-intensive» companies with electricity costs of at least 10 per cent of their gross value-added can be granted a full refund of the network surcharges. Electricity costs falling between at least five and less than 10 per cent of gross value-added qualify for a partial refund. The refund is tied to conditions. Amongst other things, the amount of the refund must be at least 20 000 francs and the company must commit to enhancing energy efficiency in a target agreement with the Federal Government. Participation in the EnAW Energy Model is a condition for concluding a target agreement.
Greater energy efficiency: Cantonal legislation on large-scale consumers (GVA)
Based on cantonal energy legislation, large-scale energy consumers may be required to improve operational energy efficiency. Large-scale consumers are companies with annual heating consumption of more than 5 GWh and/or electricity consumption of more than half a GWh at one consumption location or at the relevant point of measurement.
Concluding an EnAW universal target agreement releases large-scale consumers from cantonal detailed stipulations such as a maximum component of non-renewable energy sources. Instead, the canton determines an overall increase in energy efficiency. For implementing the GVA, an individual reduction target is set for each company. The average target to be aimed for is roughly 2 per cent per year over a period of 10 years.