Switzerland is home to Europe’s highest wind farm and the country was a relatively early adopter of new wind power technology.
The first wind energy facility in Switzerland was put into operation in 1986 near Soolhof Farm in Langenbruck, Basel-Landschaft and had an output of 28 kilowatts.
In 2012 there were more than 30 wind power plants in operation in the country, which produced a combined total of around 85 gigawatt hours of electricity, according to the Swiss federal office of energy (SFOE). One of the largest wind parks is on Mont Crosin in the Bernese Jura near St Imier: this facility comprises 16 wind turbines with a total output of 23.6 megawatts. Other large facilities are in operation in Collonges in Valais, Entlebuch in Lucerne and on the Gütsch above Andermatt in Uri.
There is still plenty of potential for wind energy in Switzerland, says the SFOE: by 2030 it would be possible for facilities that meet the stringent conceptual specifications to produce around 600 gigawatt hours of electricity a year. Ideal locations for wind parks exist in the Jura range, as well as in the Alps and in the western region of the central plateau.
SwissWinds, a greenfield business start-up from the SME-Institute of the University of St Gallen in Switzerland that was founded in 2003, is located in the Swiss Alps.
It was this team that built Europe’s highest wind turbine – 2,465 metres above sea level.