Switzerland was one of the first countries in favour of a nuclear phase-out. This can be explained by the fact that since Switzerland started operating the first and by now the oldest nuclear power plants in the world, these have currently reached their operational life and must be replaced by 2019.
Concomitantly, the fossil fuel era is drawing to a close and substitution by other sources of energy is necessary.
Global warming by the still unabated CO2 emissions of fossil energy sources will end the Oil Age long before these resources run dry.
Specifically, oil and gas heating systems will be replaced by heat pumps. On the one hand, oil and gas will be replaced by electricity, on the other hand, the increasingly warmer climate will require a cooling system for buildings, which will also be powered electrically (in the automotive industry, the air conditioning system has within three years already become the norm). This process will accelerate, as households will be able to use only electric heat pumps to both heat and cool almost without any additional investment costs.
What does the future hold?
Wind, water and photovoltaics – three renewable energy sources – will feed environmentally friendly electric current into the grid. Failing production during cloudy skies or wind lulls will be compensated by thousands of decentralised power plants driven by methanol – the new, CO2-neutral fuel.
The production of methanol is a relatively simple, catalytic process easily performed by everyone. In the future, every country and every village will be able to produce methanol autonomously and independently. This is particularly important for developing countries, since they will no longer have to spend valuable dollars for oil imports.
Prof. Dr Urs A. Weidmann