Book Chapter

Governing Energy Transitions: Transition Goals in the Swiss Energy Sector

European countries are currently committing to energy transitions so as to make the supply of electricity more sustainable. In this chapter we present our theoretical extension of a transition framework with the concepts of power, agency and politics in order to study the governance challenges of energy transitions. Furthermore, we demonstrate the application of our extended framework to a case in the Swiss energy sector. We focus on analyzing the distribution and gradual concentration of power within the sector and its implications for the energy transition. We conclude that the promotion of renewable energy through subsidization leads to a price scissor effect that squeezes small Swiss utilities out of the market by lowering electricity consumption and wholesale prices, while increasing self-production by households. The power increasingly lies with several large utilities, cities and cantons that are currently committing to ambitious energy transition goals. Such a concentration of power and alignment of goals can help in accelerating the energy transition in Switzerland.


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