Town Hall on 'Energy Policy and Climate Change' with H.E. Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation
Enumerating the energy challenges and impact of climate change on her snow-clad country, President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, sounded a warning. "India, don't make the same mistakes we made in the industrialised world," she said at a townhall held in TERI to discuss Switzerland's energy strategy.
Speaking about its success in phasing out coal, she said that in the 60s, Switzerland started replacing fossil fuels with nuclear power. In a densely-populated country, however, this comes with a huge safety risk. The country is now phasing away nuclear power too.
"We decided not to have new nuclear plants, and those existing will need to have better safety measures," she said.
"The energy policy of Switzerland has a lot of opportunities. We have to reduce energy consumption, foreign import of energy, improve renewable energy and energy efficiency, and research and innovation," she added.
The President asserted that in all of this lay opportunities for many other countries.
"India and Switzerland's energy policy focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency is in line with each other. We have to find solutions for energy storage," she said. Pointing out that Switzerland does not get much sunshine, she spoke about the problem often cited in solar power. "How do we store power from summer and use it in winter?" she said.
Pointing out to similar circumstances in India, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, gave the example of Delhi where power demand peaks at night when people use air conditioners. He concluded by emphasizing that finding energy storage solutions and reducing cost of capital are the two biggest energy challenges of the future.