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Liesberg wind farm project to be put on hold

The wind farm project in Liesberg is to be put on hold temporarily as it is not economically viable. EBM and the local citizens’ alliance may revive the project at a later date depending on the future trend in the feed-in remuneration at cost (CRF) and in cost-cutting technologies in wind production.

For the past three years or so, EBM and the Liesberg Citizens’ Alliance have worked together on investigating the possibility of constructing a wind farm in the town. Under the energy strategy being pursued by the canton of Basel-Landschaft, wind power is to be used to supply 4,500 households with renewable energy from the region. With the preliminary study and, in particular, the wind measurements completed, a final analysis of the economic viability of the Liesberg wind farm has now been compiled. A key factor in this analysis is the energy generation costs per kilowatt hour (kWh) in conjunction with the nationwide subsidy for renewable energies in the form of the CRF.

 When Swiss voters approved the Energy Strategy 2050 on 21 May 2017, the decision was made to increase the electricity levy that funds the subsidies from its current level of 1.5 cents to 2.3 cents per kWh. Although this essentially means that more CRF funds are available to subsidise renewables, wind power will only benefit to a limited extent. Most CRF money has already been allocated and is being used for projects currently on a waiting list. The period during which subsidies are paid is also being cut from 20 to 15 years. The current CRF model is only set to run until 2022, at which point it will be succeeded by an as-yet unknown replacement solution. These changes to the CRF framework have made it impossible for the Liesberg wind farm to operate profitably.

Local wind conditions also contributed to the suspension, with the wind measurements taken over the past two years falling below expectations. Rather than the average wind speeds of 5 m/s that had been expected, the actual values were some 10 per cent lower.

 However, the situation may change yet again in two to three years if a successor to the CRF is found that is cost-effective for new wind farms and if wind technology keeps on evolving to permit significant cost reductions from time to time. EBM will continue to monitor proceedings closely. As soon as the regulatory parameters become clear and a wind farm becomes an economically viable option for Liesberg, the company will resurrect the project in partnership with the citizens’ alliance.

Regardless of the current situation facing wind power in the canton of Basel-Landschaft, EBM is making strong and successful progress with construction and with the production of renewable energies. As well as its own holdings in regional hydropower plants, there are now over 2,000 photovoltaic arrays installed on EBM’s grid territory. EBM’s activities in the field of renewable energies focus on aventron AG. By 2020, the company is planning to install hydropower plants, wind farms and solar arrays boasting an installed power capacity of at least 500 megawatts and a production capacity of around 1,000 gigawatt hours (GWh).

Further information:

  • Joachim Krebs, Head of Corporate Communications, tel. +41 61 415 43 85, email j.krebs@ebm.ch
  • Liesberg Citizens’ Alliance, Christian Steiner, tel. +41 61 771 00 00

 

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