Renewable energy production is head of the pack

08 Avr Renewable energy production is head of the pack

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
April 2018

Authors: Bjarne Steffen, Dominique Hischier, Tobias S. Schmidt
Main themes: energy
Nature of publication: study

Specialists of the Energy Politics Group at ETH Zurich were commissioned by SATW to analyse – for the first time ever – the total energy balance of key forms of power production in Switzerland using standardised methodology. The study examined natural gas, geothermal energy, nuclear power, photovoltaics, coal, hydro power, and wind power and firstly calculated their non-renewable cumulative energy demand required to build and supply a system and for power production. For fossil fuel production processes and nuclear power, this is first and foremost the energy in the relevant fuel (gas, coal, uranium). The second element determined was the energy return on energy investment (EROI), which describes the relationship between the power produced and the (‘grey’) energy invested across a system’s entire life cycle. These key figures were used to assess total energy balance. Hydro power’s total energy balance is outstanding. What is impressive is how much it outstrips other forms of power production in terms of its energy return on energy investment.

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