Swiss canton turns down plan to speed up Alpine solar projects
The site where a new alpine solar park is planned to be built in the Swiss Alps. Image by Aline Elzingre-Pittet Source: http://www.grande-dixence.ch/
The citizens of the Swiss canton of Valais voted on Sunday against proposed authorisation procedure changes which would accelerate the construction of large-scale solar facilities in the Alpine region.
According to preliminary results published on the website of the canton, 53.94% voted against the proposal, while 46.06% supported it.
The rejected plan envisaged replacing the cantonal building commission with the State Council, or the cantonal government, as the first authorisation authority. The move would open a direct and faster appeal path to the cantonal court, according to an earlier statement of the canton. The proposals also involved the introduction of a concentrated cantonal procedure, in which the State Council would make a single decision on both the construction of facilities and the necessary special permits.
The rejected proposals are in line with law changes approved by the Swiss parliament in September 2022 to ease the construction of new solar plants in the alpine region in order to secure energy supply in winter months. Among others, the changes envisage the eligibility of projects for a one-time subsidy from the federal government that covers between 50% and 60% of their investment costs.