Energy Resources: Switzerland Essay

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Energy Resources: Switzerland

Electricity production:

Hydropower and nuclear energy account for 95% of Switzerland’s electricity production with 56% of electricity production coming from hydropower and 39% from nuclear power.

Hydropower, obtained from the energy produced by moving water, is widely used in Switzerland due to the country’s topography and high levels of rainfall. There are 556 hydropower plants in Switzerland with the majority of hydroelectricity production coming from mountainous cantons such as, Grisons and Uri.

The principal component of a hydropower plant is a dam, which holds back the water, creating a reservoir. The water in the reservoir has potential energy, which turns into kinetic energy as it flows through …show more content…

In addition, dams are incredibly expensive to build, and can cause flooding of land, which entails the destruction of the natural environment and habitat of animals, and people alike. Finally, hydropower depends heavily on high levels of precipitation that one has no control over, making hydropower very unreliable.

Nuclear power:

Nuclear plants are expensive to build with continuous production of nuclear waste that increases the risk of radioactive accidents, such as the incident at Chernobyl in 1986, from whose repercussions the inhabitants of the region are still suffering. Moreover, nuclear waste can remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years. Finally, the mining of uranium (which itself is scarce) contaminates the surrounding area, implying that it causes damage even before it is used in the plant. Alternatives for the future:

Among possible alternatives for future electricity production, the following are most viable today: solar, wind, and biogas energy- all of which are renewable, and well suited to the conditions in Switzerland.

Biogas energy is cheap, and produces enriched organic matter that could replace chemical fertilizers. Moreover, the technology needed to create the gas is cheap to manufacture. However, impurities in the gas can corrode the metal of internal combustion engines.

Wind energy is free, and easy to harness. It benefits the

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