The World Wide Fund for Nature is Switzerland's largest nature and environmental protection organisation and one of the largest in the world. It is committed to the preservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and the containment of environmental pollution and harmful consumerism.
The activities of WWF Switzerland are backed by around 260,000 members and supporters. WWF operates at an international as well as national and regional level. Volunteers implement WWF's objectives at a local level in 23 cantonal WWF sections. They implement projects, perform public relations and educational activities and organise excursions, presentations and events.
The WWF logo, the panda, has become a global emblem for species protection and sustainability thanks to the work of the WWF network.
WWF and Swissgrid not only work together as part of grid construction projects, but also in grid planning. Swissgrid presented the report for the “Strategic Grid 2025” in the spring of 2015. The planning is based on various scenarios. These must not be viewed as a prediction of the future; they merely represent a possible scope of developments. The scenarios used are based on the Federal Government’s energy perspectives for 2050 and data provided by the European Network of Transmission System Operators. To the extent possible, they have been discussed with representatives from industry and politics as well as environmental associations. WWF is a member of the Environmental Alliance, which submitted assumptions for the “Sun” scenario. This assumes the complete phasing out of nuclear energy and a significant expansion of photovoltaic capacities in Switzerland.
The expansion of the grid and the hook-up of new systems are always connected with new lines. In these kinds of projects, Swissgrid takes on great responsibility for nature and people, as the projects have an impact on habitats.
The electricity generated by the new Linth-Limmern pumped storage power plant is only of benefit if it can be transported. This required a new 380kV line between the Tierfehd and Soolsteg substations. Swissgrid is required to implement alternative measures for the impacted protected habitats. Among the numerous proposals was a measure to enhance the forest edge over an area spanning 15 metres in width and 710 metres in length.
In cooperation with representatives from cantonal and municipal authorities, the Hermannsegg forest clearing on the northern border of the Rügglirus was assessed as suitable for forest edge enhancement and the specific forestry measures were defined and implemented. This resulted in the creation of a closely integrated forest edge with a herbaceous fringe, a shrub belt and a shelter belt. Native and valuable trees and shrub species as well as small structures are encouraged and the dry grasslands of national importance are enhanced by better exposure to sunlight.
The health and safety of employees and partners is an absolute priority for Swissgrid. All safety aspects relating to the systems and activities are checked and supervised. Besides the statutory regulations, Swissgrid takes additional measures to prevent accidents and health hazards. Swissgrid works together with its partners, the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies and the Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations, in this respect.
The system representatives and project managers are supported and trained in risk assessment and the definition of measures to eliminate existing risks. The aim is to ensure the early detection of risks and the definition of protective measures when operating on systems. For example, this means that only qualified personnel are employed, roles and responsibilities are clearly regulated, and the wearing of protective equipment in systems and electricity pylons is mandatory.
In 2015, Swissgrid resolved to develop the safety management, especially in relation to personnel and occupational safety and system protection. The aim is to establish a comprehensive safety culture at Swissgrid and ensure even better protection for employees and systems.