22 May 2008

THE ROLE OF THE STATE AND THE ECONOMY IN THE PROMOTION OF HEAT PUMPS ON THE MARKET


The laws defining the tasks of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) do not
allow it to dictate measures, but to collaborate on the basis of voluntary actions. In the heat
pump sector, the SwissEnergy action programme binds together 1 state, 26 cantons, 3000
communes, 50 manufacturers, 3500 installers, 1200 electricity companies and environmental
agencies. In order to promote the use of renewable energies, the SFOE took the lead by
creating the Swiss heat pump promotion group (GSP) in 1993. The idea was to bundle the
market’s forces to actively market and promote heat pumps for heating purposes. Under the
umbrella of the Energy2000 (1990-2000) and the SwissEnergy (2001-2010) promotion
programmes), the disparate heat pump sector was brought together and consolidated into
being a key player on the heating market. The role of the SFOE and the GSP has changed
with time. At the beginning, the SFOE decided what was to be done and the GSP did the job
on a mandatory base. The SFOE was responsible for achieving the goals. The GSP
gradually grew, so that since 2001 it has been able to determine the action plans itself. The
SFOE sets the goals and the GSP is responsible for fulfilling them. The SFOE assures the
coordination and the efficient use of resources. Its domain manager is responsible for the
coordination of the whole chain from research and development to market, including quality
management for all of the activities and the products as well. In this way, the government laid
the foundations for the sector to become a success. This model can be applied to other
domains or to other countries if some of the assessments and conditions described in the
article are met.