CIPRA representatives:

Personal tools

  Search filter  

Good Practice


The largest photovoltaic plant in East Switzerland is in the Toggenburg valley.

The 15 municipalities, between Wildhaus and Kirchberg, are moving towards energy independence: by 2034 all energy used in the valley is to be produced sustainably and locally; by 2059 they intend to realize the 2'000 Watt society. The canton, the municipalities, enterprises and private persons participate. The local competence centre is the association for the promotion of "energietal toggenburg" ( Energy Valley Toggenburg).

I Description of the measure

Title in original language: Energietal Toggenburg

Location of CNA: Switzerland

Municipality / regional entity: Toggenburg, Canton St.Gallen

Category of the experience: Strategy
Type(s) of CNA:

Principal nomination: Other type

Thematic field(s):

Principal field: Energy 
Secondary field(s): Buildings & construction, Land use, Industry & services

Spatial scale: Regional (small scale)
Time & duration:

Start date: 2009
Duration: ongoing

Key word(s): energy autarchy, sustainable regional development


Stimulation of energy efficiency and renewable energy production in the Toggenburg area, sustainable contribution to self-confident development of the valley community. 2034: "Energy autarchy": energy consumed in the valley is produced in the valley. 2059: 2000 Watt society.


The emphasis of "Energy Valley Toggenburg" is on the promotion and diffusion of new, better power generating facilities with the latest technology. To fund and realize sustainable energy projects, the Toggenburg Energie Finanz ag ( was established. In addition, the association wants to motivate the population for the transition to sustainable energy. Networking and coordination of the different actors (investors, power plant operators, officials, population, etc.) Comprehensive energy advisory services for private consumers and enterprises. Energy academy Toggenburg: training and extended training courses (e.g. together with the vocational and continous learning centre Toggenburg) Communication (media, lectures, events, etc.)


Energy advice in 2010: initial advice (200 persons) and advice on practical steps (100 persons). As a result, the energy use of numerous homes was reduced and old heating/power plants were replaced, reducing CO2 emissions. Investment: about 4.5 million CHF (of which a large part came from regional sources). Installation of 102 thermal solar units for water heating as a result of the 'Hot Water from the Roof’ initiative: CO2 emissions were reduced by 1014 tonnes and domestic small businesses earned some 1,5 million CHF net. Largest photovoltaic plant in East Switzerland on the roof of the Högg firm in Wattwil: 2520 sq. m., generating power for about 110 households. Wood energy centre Toggenburg: 25,000 cu. m. of wood chips substituted 1.2 million liters of heating oil and 10 million. kWh of heat was generated. In addition 2 million kWh of energy was produced. Successful implementation of extended vocational training projects, e.g. training for "Solarteur" (renewable energies)

II Assessment criteria

Mitigation effects: Very high

see 13 - Results An interactive map in German with the various projects and a description of a selection of them may be found on (menu category: Anlagen).

Impacts on adaptation: Positive

It is assumed that sustainable development also has a positive impact on the adaptability of the valley.

Impacts on environment:

- Landscape: Positive
- Alpine ecosystems / biodiversity: Positive
- Water / soil / air: Positive
- "Other": None

The integrative, sustainable approach should ensure that nature and landscape are treated with care.

Impacts on society:

- Social justice: Positive
- Regional / cultural identity: Very positive
- "Other": None

"Energy Valley Toggenburg" is firmly rooted and has broad support. The various activities of the association are intended to make a sustainable contribution to self-confident development of the valley community and are likely to strengthen coherence and identity. In addition, the project has a positive image.

Impacts on economy:

- Employment / job creation: Positive
- Added value / income: Positive
- Know how / competitiveness: Positive
- "Other": None

The various projects help to secure jobs and income in the region. Participating firms benefit from the experience and know-how acquired. One of the stated objectives of the association is to ensure that as much of the invested money as possible is spent in the region and that the new power plants are owned locally.

Public relations impact and awareness-raising: Very high

Strong roots in the local population. Many awareness-building activities (basic element of the strategy) Positive media response, relatively wide publicity in Switzerland. Award: Climate Award East of the Zürich insurance company (March 2011) Themed trail: water power educational trail and energy trail Gamplüt - Chüeboden.

Transferability: High

Idea, concept and concrete activities can easily be transferred to other (Alpine) valley communities.

Cross sectoral and integrative approach: Very high

According to its stated objectives "Energy Valley Toggenburg" is based on a cross-sectoral and integrative approach which goes well beyond climate protection, aiming at sustainable regional development.

Good governance: Very high

"Energy Valley Toggenburg" has wide support and strong roots. The association sees itself as 'bracketing' ideas, projects, investors, operators of power plants, officials, enterprises, institutions and the population as a whole. Cooperation with the Toggenburg municipalities is essential, as the municipalities make a decisive contribution to the realization of the Energy Valley Toggenburg vision. All municipalities support the association with a 'solidarity contributuon' of 2 CHF per inhabitant.

III Executive body and contact information

Executive body: Organizations of civil society

Association "Energy Valley Toggenburg" in cooperation with authorities, enterprises and the population.

Contact person(s):

Name: Christiane Pietsch
Institution: Energietal Toggenburg
Address: Bahnhofstrasse 1, 9630 Wattwil
Phone: +41 71 987 00 71
Email: [email protected]

Online information: (report on Swiss TV, telecast Einstein, 24.9.2009 [Swiss TV]) (report on Swiss TV, telecast Schweiz aktuell, 30.3.2011 [Swiss TV])

Filed under: ,