Electricity consumption up 0.4% in 2017

Bern, 20.04.2018 - At 58.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), electricity consumption in Switzerland in 2017 was slightly higher than that for 2016 (+0.4%). Domestic production (after deduction of electricity consumed by storage pumps) was 57.3 billion kWh. The physical electricity import surplus was 5.6 billion kWh.

Domestic consumption in 2017 was 62.9 billion kWh. After deduction of losses occurring in transmission and distribution of 4.4 billion kWh, the actual electricity consumption amounted to 58.5 billion kWh, which is 0.4% or 244 million kWh (corresponds approximately to the annual consumption of 48,800 households) more than in 2016 (58.2 billion kWh). The changes in consumption compared to 2016 were +0.6% (first quarter), -1.1% (second quarter), +2.2% (third quarter), and +0.1% (fourth quarter) of 2017.

Although significant factors such as the development of the economy and population tended to increase consumption (see below), electricity consumption in Switzerland remained almost stable. This was due to the low number of heating degree days and increases in energy efficiency:

  • Development of the economy: In 2017, according to provisional figures, the gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 1.0% (source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO).
  • Development of the population: According to the provisional statistics issued by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) on April 6, 2018, the population of Switzerland increased by 0.7% in 2017.
  • Weather: In 2017, the number of heating degree days fell by 1.5% (see table in appendix) in comparison to the previous year. This development tended to reduce consumption slightly because about 10% of the electricity consumed in Switzerland is used for heating.

The annual ex-post analyses of electricity consumption (to be published in October 2018) will provide further information about the main factors influencing electricity consumption.

Domestic electricity production in 2017

Electricity production (domestic) fell slightly by 0.2% to 61.5 billion kWh in 2017 (2016: 61.6 billion KWh). After deduction of 4.2 billion kWh consumed by storage pumps, net electricity generated amounted to 57.3 billion kWh. In the third and fourth quarters domestic production exceeded the value for 2016 (+5.0% and +11.8% respectively), however, in the first and second quarters (-8.5% and -6.6% respectively) it was below the corresponding values for 2016.

Hydropower plants (fluvial and storage power plants) generated 0.9% more electricity than in the previous year (fluvial power plants, -3.8%; storage power plants, +4.9%). In summer 2017, hydropower production fell by 5.5% in comparison to 2016 (fluvial power plants -7.0%, storage power plants -3.9%); in the two winter quarters it rose by 10.6% (fluvial power plants +2.8%, storage power plants +15.3%).

Electricity production at Swiss nuclear power plants fell by 3.6% to 19.5 billion kWh (2016: 20.2 billion kWh). This fall in production was caused by stoppages in production at Beznau I (entire year) and Leibstadt (several months) nuclear power plants. The availability rate of Switzerland's nuclear power plants in 2017 was 67.1% (2016: 69.4%).

Hydropower plants contributed 59.6% to overall electricity production (fluvial power plants 25.9% and storage power plants 33.7%) while nuclear power plants provided 31.7% and conventional thermal plants and plants using renewable energy generated 8.7%.

Import surplus in 2017

With physical imports totalling 36.5 billion kWh and physical exports of 30.9 billion kWh, the balance for 2017 was an import surplus of 5.6 billion kWh (2016: import surplus of 3.9 billion kWh). In the first and fourth quarters (winter quarters) Switzerland imported 8.7 billion kWh net (2016: 8.2 billion kWh); in the second and third quarters Switzerland exported 3.1 billion kWh net (2016: 4.3 billion kWh).

According to data from the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) yield from trade-based electricity exports was 1,544 million francs (5.06 cents/kWh). Expenditure of 1,761 million francs (4.83 cents/kWh) was incurred for trade-based electricity imports. This resulted in a negative foreign trade balance of 217 million francs for Switzerland in 2017 (source: FCA / swissimpex; status: 3.4.2018).

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

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