The increase in the final energy consumption of 1.5% compared to the previous year (according to the meteorological institute Meteo Schweiz, 2014, and 2011, were the warmest years on record since measurements began to be made in 1864) was primarily due to the slightly cooler weather in 2015. The number of heating degree days recorded, a significant indicator for the energy consumed in heating, increased over 2014 by 10.5% but was nevertheless still significantly lower than the long-term average. An across the board increase in the long-term drivers of energy consumption also contributed to the higher consumption of energy: the permanently resident population (+1.1%), the gross domestic product (+0.9%), number of registered motor vehicles (+1.8%), number of homes (there was an increase, but no detailed statistics have been issued as yet by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office).
Consumption of extra-light heating oil rose by 5.6% and that of gas by 5.4%. Electricity consumption increased by 1.4% (see SFOE press release of 19 April 2016). A decrease was seen in consumption of energy generated from industrial waste (-13.9%) and from coal (-8.3%). Consumption of heavy types of heating oil fell by 32.4% and that of petroleum coke by 35.5%.
In comparison to 2014, overall vehicle fuel consumption fell by 2.6%. The trend of substituting diesel for petrol as vehicle fuel continued unabated: Sales of diesel fell moderately by 1.4%, while the consumption of petrol fell significantly by 7.3%. A further reason for the significant decline in sales of diesel and petrol fuels was the fall in the exchange rate of the Swiss franc to the euro, which led to a decline in the number of motorists crossing the border to fill up their tanks in Switzerland (petrol) and to an increase in the number of Swiss motorists who purchased their diesel fuel abroad. Sales of aviation fuel increased by 3.3%.
The effect of the cold weather was also reflected in the consumption of the renewable energy carriers which were used for heating. Use of wood for heating rose by 6.8%. Use of ambient heat with heat pumps was also 14.1% above the value for 2014, while consumption from district heating and solar heating plants also increased (+12.3% and +6.8% respectively).
Direct use of biogas fell slightly by 0.6%. Taking into account biogas fed into the natural gas mains (which figures statistically as natural gas), use of biogas rose by 6.1%.
Consumption of biogenic fuels increased significantly once again (+137.9%). Abolishment of the petroleum tax on these fuels and the fact that they are now included among the current CO2 compensation measures led to increased sales.
Switzerland's overall energy statistics for 2015 will be available on Internet in the second half of July and in print from the beginning of August 2016. An initial summary of the statistics is available immediately (see attachment).