In view of its location in the heart of Europe and the high level of interaction with its neighbouring states, Switzerland's electricity network effectively functions as an electricity hub. And if we include the widely used gas pipelines in the equation, we can by all means speak of an energy hub. Changing legal provisions within Switzerland, together with the efforts on the part of the EU to create a single energy market in Europe, are lastingly influencing the conditions for energy production, transmission and distribution, and are giving rise to new demands, especially on networks. In addition to the changing legislative environment, technological developments and the threatening scarcity of some energy carriers are placing complex demands on present-day and future energy networks and systems. In order to respond adequately to this dynamic situation, constant research activities are required over both the short term and the long term. The research programme Networks sets out to initiate, finance and co-ordinate corresponding projects at both the national and the international level.
Above all, network research focuses on the analysis and design of electrical and integrated energy systems, including their planning, development and operation. One of the main objectives of research is to find suitable methods for development, regulation, steering and analysis, based on potential tools derived from the areas of regulation theory, optimisation and corporate research. The aim here is that these can be used by engineers within the industry for solving specific problems or yielding findings for other users such as regulators and politicians. At the same time, economic aspects and inter-disciplinary issues are becoming increasingly important.