“We are at risk, we need to promote renewable energy”

On the second day of her working visit to the Netherlands, Federal Chancellor Simonetta Sommaruga met today with Minister of Climate and Energy Rob Getten and Minister of Environment Vivian Heijnin in The Hague.

The head of the Federal Administration for Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) discussed with Jetten the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy supplies and the conclusions to be drawn. For both Switzerland and the Netherlands, it is clear that Europe must reduce its dependence on Russian gas and oil.

Now we realize how vulnerable this has made our countries. It is therefore important to move forward quickly with the expansion of renewable energies, with the replacement of oil and gas heating systems and energy renewal in buildings.

Since many homes and buildings in Switzerland are still being heated by gas, necessary measures must be taken at the same time to ensure the supply during the coming winter.

At the beginning of March, the Federal Council created the conditions for the sector to proceed with the joint procurement of gas, storage capacity and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Netherlands will now quickly proceed to increase LNG storage capacity at the port of Rotterdam. Gettin renewed his country’s readiness to cooperate with Switzerland.

Both countries also want to reach the net zero emissions target by 2050 and, at the same time, reduce greenhouse gases. Sommaruga and Jetten signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation in the field of carbon dioxide capture, storage and removal from the atmosphere; The Netherlands plans to build this kind of factory.

Transport of goods by rail and on the Rhine
The meeting with Heijnen also focused on climate protection and decarbonization. Sommaruga also spoke to her rail freight counterpart. The Gotthard, Luchberg and Seneri tunnels are part of the European shipping corridor from Rotterdam to Genoa: Switzerland is therefore particularly important for ensuring efficient rail transport in Europe, states DETEC.

Many goods also reach Basel by water. Therefore, cooperation between the port authorities of Rotterdam and Basel needs to be further intensified. To this end, a declaration of intent was signed during the port visit.

The Federal Chancellor also took the opportunity to exchange ideas with the renowned Director of the International Energy Program Clingendael and with representatives of the City of The Hague regarding the transition from gas to climate-friendly sources of energy. He also met with Harm van Dijk, who organizes citizen forums that allow residents to express their needs and concerns directly.

On the working visit, Sommaruga was accompanied by representatives of the Swiss Railway Industry and the Swiss Gas Industry Association. In Rotterdam, moreover, by representatives of the Rhine ports and the Chambers of Commerce of the city of Basel and the country of Basel.

The President of DETEC is heading to Paris today for the Ministerial Summit of the International Energy Agency (IEA) scheduled for tomorrow, which in turn will deal with the security of supplies.

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