Electricity consumption up 1.4% in 2015

Bern, 19.04.2016 - In 2015 electricity consumption in Switzerland increased by 1.4% to 58.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). Domestic consumption (including losses occurring in transmission and distribution) was 62.6 billion kWh. Production at domestic power plants fell by 5.3% to 66.0 billion kWh, or 63.7 billion kWh after deduction of 2.3 billion kWh of electricity consumed by storage pumps. The electricity export surplus of 1.0 billion kWh in 2015 was 4.5 billion kWh lower than the previous year; this led to a decrease in the export trade balance in Swiss francs to 234 million francs in contrast to 442 million francs in 2014.

Switzerland's electricity consumption (that is domestic consumption after deduction of 4.4 billion kWh lost in transmission and distribution) rose by 1.4% in 2015 to 58.2 billion kWh (2014: 57.5 billion kWh). The increase in consumption by quarter in 2015 was +3.4% (first quarter), +0.4% (second quarter), +1.1% (third quarter), and +0.3% (fourth quarter).

The following changes in the most significant factors influencing electricity consumption were seen in 2015:

  • Development of the economy: Switzerland's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.9% in 2015 (source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO).
  • Development of the population: According to the "mean population growth" scenario 2010 of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO), the population is increasing by around 0.9% per annum. (The SFSO has not yet published any official data relating to the development of the population in 2015.)
  • Weather: In 2015, the number of heating degree days increased over 2014 by 10.5% (see table in appendix). Since about 10% of the electricity consumed in Switzerland is used for heating (according to the analysis of energy consumption by specific use, SFOE/Prognos 2015), this development led to a rise in consumption in 2015 compared to 2014. (2014 was the warmest year in Switzerland since records began to be kept in 1864.)

Average domestic electricity production

Electricity production (domestic production prior to deduction of 2.3 billion kWh consumed by storage pumps) at Switzerland's power plants fell in 2015 by 5.3% to 66.0 billion kWh (2014: 69.6 billion kWh). Domestic production in the first and second quarters of 2015 was greater than that for 2014 (+3.7% and +1.8% respectively). In contrast, domestic production in the third and fourth quarters was significantly lower than in 2014 (-10.7% and -14.9% respectively).

Hydropower plants (fluvial and storage power plants) generated 0.5% more electricity than in the previous year (fluvial power plants, -3.8%; storage power plants, +3.7%). During the dry summer of 2015, hydropower production rose by 1.2% (fluvial power plants +0.6%, storage power plants +1.8%), while production fell in the two winter quarters by 0.5% (fluvial power plants -11.4%, mainly because of lower than average precipitation in the fourth quarter, storage power plants +5.7%, mainly because of increased generation in the first quarter compared to 2014).

Electricity production from the five Swiss nuclear power plants (NPP) fell by 16.2% to 22.1 billion kWh (2014: 26.4 billion kWh). This fall in production is due to the exceptional production stoppages at Beznau I + II and Leibstadt nuclear power plants. The availability rate of Switzerland's NPPs was 76.0% (2014: 90.9%).

Hydropower plants contributed 59.9% to overall electricity production, followed by nuclear power plants (33.5%), conventional thermal plants and plants using renewable energy (6.6%).

Export surplus in 2015

With imports totalling 42.3 billion kWh and exports of 43.3 billion kWh, the balance for 2015 was an export surplus of 1.0 billion kWh (2014: export surplus of 5.5 billion kWh).  In the first and fourth quarters, Switzerland imported 3.3 billion kWh net (2014: 0.7 billion kWh) and in the second and third quarters exports of electricity amounted to 4.3 billion kWh net (2014: 6.2 billion kWh).

Revenues from electricity exports amounted to 2,033 million francs (4.72 cents/kWh). Expenditure of 1,799 million francs (4.26 cents/kWh) was incurred for imports. Switzerland's positive balance of foreign trade fell by 47.1% to 234 million francs (2014: 442 million francs).

Address for enquiries

Marianne Zünd, Head of Communication SFOE, 058 462 56 75 / 079 763 86 11


Swiss Federal Office of Energy

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