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Energy consumption up 1.9% in 2016

Bern, 22.06.2017 - Switzerland's final energy consumption increased by 1.9% in 2016 to 854,300 terajoules (TJ) compared to 2015. One significant factor in the increase was the cooler weather experienced compared to that year. Other contributory factors were the positive developments in the economy and the continuing population growth.

The 1.9% increase in final energy consumption over the previous year was caused in the main by the cooler weather experienced in 2016. The number of heating degree days, a significant indicator of the amount of energy used for heating, rose by 6.7% compared to 2015. Other factors which also contributed to the higher consumption of energy were the main long-term drivers of energy consumption, namely the permanently resident population (+1.1%), gross domestic product  (+1.3%), number of registered motor vehicles (+1.6%) and the number of homes (an increase was observed, but no detailed figures are available as yet). While an increase in the long-term drivers of energy consumption pushed use of energy up, measures to increase energy efficiency and use of alternate sources tended to stem the general growth in energy consumption. The annual ex-post analyses of energy consumption (to be published in October 2017) will provide further information about the main factors influencing energy consumption.

Increase in consumption of energy carriers for heating

Consumption of extra-light heating oil rose by 2.4% and that of gas by 3.8%. Electricity consumption remained unchanged at the same level as in 2015 (see SFOE press release of April 21, 2017). These three energy carriers contributed more than half of the final energy consumed (2016: 53.8%).

Use of industrial waste for heating has increased by 5.9% (proportion of final energy consumption in 2016: 1.3%). The use of coal declined (-8.1%) as did consumption of heavy types of heating oil (-52.0%) while use of petroleum coke increased (+122.5%). The proportion these three energy carriers contributed to overall energy consumption is minimal (<1%).

Slight increase in vehicle fuel consumption

Consumption of vehicle fuel rose slightly overall for the first time in three years compared to the previous year (+0.4%). The trend of substituting diesel for petrol as vehicle fuel continued unabated: sales of diesel rose by 1.1%, while the consumption of petrol fell by 3.1%. Sales of aviation fuel increased by 4.7%. Fossil fuels provided one third (34.2%) of the final energy consumed.

Consumption of energy from renewables also up

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 7.6%. Use of ambient heat with heat pumps was 10.6% above the value for 2015, while consumption from district heating (+6.2%) and solar heating plants also increased (+3.8%). The proportion these three energy carriers contributed to overall energy consumption in 2016 was 9.1% (wood for energy production: 4.6%, ambient heat: 1.9%, district heating plants: 2.3%, solar heat: 0.3%).

Direct consumption of biogas remained the same. Taking into account biogas (which figures statistically as natural gas) fed into the natural gas mains, use of biogas rose by 5.8%. Biogas fed into the mains constituted 0.9% of the overall gas consumption in 2016.

Consumption of biogenic fuels increased significantly in comparison to 2015 (+72.0%) and has thus increased sevenfold within the last three years. The proportion of biogenic fuels in the overall sales of petrol and diesel was 1.6% in 2016 (2015: 0.9%). Abolishment of the petroleum tax on such fuels and the fact that they are now imputed to the CO2 compensation measures led to increased sales.

Switzerland's overall energy statistics for 2016 will be available on Internet in the second half of July and in print from the beginning of August 2017. An initial summary of the statistics is available immediately (see attachment).

Address for enquiries:

Marianne Zünd, Head of Media and Political Affairs SFOE, 058 462 56 75 / 079 763 86 11


Swiss Federal Office of Energy