Hydropower plays a major role in Switzerland's energy production, with a share of around 56%. In addition, storage plants are an important factor for power production at short notice and for the changeover of production from summer to winter. Thanks to its storage capabilities, Switzerland plays a central role as an electricity supplier in the European networks. Hydropower is our most important, CO2-free energy source.
Hydropower also creates jobs and provides significant funding, most notably to mountain cantons and municipalities, through various charges and taxes.
In a European comparison, Switzerland is no. 4 in terms of contribution of hydropower towards electricity production, behind Norway, Austria and Iceland.
There are currently 556 hydropower power plants in Switzerland that have a capacity of at least 300 kilowatts. They generate a maximum output of 13,681 MW and an annual production potential of 35,833 gigawatt hours. The main water sources (feeding 485 power plants) are the Rhine (into which the Aara, Reuss and Limmat flow) and the Rhone.
The two mountain cantons, Valais and Grisons, are the biggest producers: with a combined output of 17 TWh, they supply almost half of Switzerland's hydropower.
In Switzerland's hydropower plant statistics, a distinction is made between four types of plants: run-of-river (3,768 MW, 16,858 GWh), storage (8,073 MW, 17,382 GWh), pumped storage (1,383 MW, 1,594 GWh) and basic water flow plants (456 MW).
Large-scale hydropower plants (capacity greater than 10 MW) account for around 90% of Switzerland's total hydropower production.