Canton of Geneva


Canton of Geneva

Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland (196,257 inhabitants) and capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, which has a population of 479,158. The canton, located in the south-western corner of Switzerland where the River Rhône exits Lake Geneva, has an area of 282 km2 (resp. 16 km2 for the city of Geneva) and population density of 1,700/km2 (resp. 12,000/km2 for the city). It is surrounded by two mountain chains, the Jura to the north, and the Alps to the south-east. The climate of Geneva is temperate oceanic, with cool winters (average temperature of 1.5° in January) and pleasantly warm summers (average temperature of 20.2° in July). Precipitation is adequate (1,005 mm yearly) and relatively well distributed throughout the year. Besides, it has an average of 1,828 hours of sunshine a year.

Geneva is a centre of commerce, trade and finance, and home to several international organisations’ headquarters, such as the United Nations. The service sector is by far the most significant in Geneva in terms of employment (87 % of the workforce in 2013). Precision machinery and instruments are other branches where the economy of the Canton of Geneva is strong (for example watchmaking). Besides, agriculture is also commonplace in the hinterlands of Geneva, particularly wheat and wine.*

The electricity consumption of the canton in 2013 was 10,594 TJ, while the natural gas and fuel oil were respectively 11,533 TJ and 8,248 TJ. 26.7 % of the electricity is consumed by private households, 57.1% by the different economic activities and 12.5 by collective services.**

The Canton of Geneva was chosen as a case study city because of its ambitious goals with regards to energy efficiency, renewable energy use, and more globally, sustainable development. Indeed, the Canton has a long term vision of reaching a “2000 Watt society without nuclear power”. It consists in reducing the primary energy consumption to 2000 W per capita, with a share of 75% renewable sources in the energy mix, and without resorting to nuclear power. These ambitious goals have been backed up with a twofold political structure: the “General Energy Conception” and the “Energy Director Plan”. The first defines the general political orientation of the Canton, taking into account the evolution of the international context, the available energy sources and the goals set by the Swiss confederation, while the latter translates the orientations of the “General Energy Conception” into quantified objectives and establishes the necessary actions to reach these goals.***

  • Sources : * Wikipedia: and Cantonales Genève:
  • ** Services industriels de Genève / Office cantonal de la statistique (17.09.2014)
  • *** Plan directeur cantonal de l’énergie 2005-2009, Service cantonal de l’énergie (ScanE)