Journal //


Switzerland


(Zurich)

Besides the usual vision that strangers have of Switzerland – a rich, neutral and independent country in the middle of Europe – what goes in the Alps valleys up there is actually quite unknown. Yet, Switzerland's democratic and industrial organisations represent an exception in the global European landscape. The country, however, is not renowned for its proactive commitment to the energy transition, like Norway, which enjoys a similar position as a European outsider. And this despite a level of macroeconomic health seemingly never to be jeopardised, a steady economic growth and a rich, then potentially well-informed population on the stakes of climate and energy. Put side by side with other countries with comparable background (such as the Nordic countries, Germany, or even Austria), the contrast is quite impressive, and must be explained.

Zurich

Trying to find an answer to our questions, we began our tour by visiting Zurich, where we had the immense pleasure to visit the Umwelt Arena, a showroom in the outskirts of the city aiming at raising awareness on sustainability, from electrical mobility to energy efficiency and renewables. We were offered a tour -- thanks to Engie -- and were guided by Mr. Jörg Sigrist, CEO of the Umwelt Arena.

Then, we had a nice talk with Philip Wernli, head of Marketing and Communication at Engie Switzerland, who provided us with valuable insights on the Swiss market situation. We also had an exchange with Thomas Maurer, Project Manager from Engie as well.

The day after, still in Zurich, we had the opportunity to have an extensive discussion with Mr. Philip Stutterheim and Mr. Alexis Nifikorov, from the Flisom company. Its business case is of the utmost interest for the energy transition: they try to develop flexible, light, and easily integrable solar panels for building enhancement, for instance to put them vertically on façades.

Finally, we headed towards the Zurich ETH in order to meet Pr. Johan Lilliestam, a physicist working on the overlapping of renewable energy policies as well as on the integration of Concentrated Solar Panels into the energy mix of North African countries. This interview was certainly one of the most stimulating that we have had, since it was for us the opportunity to discover a way to think the transition totally different from what we used to know.