Energy consumption down 2.2% in 2018

Bern, 20.06.2019 - Switzerland's final energy consumption fell by 2.2% in 2018 to 830,880 terajoules (TJ) compared to the preceding year. One significant reason for the decline in consumption was the warmer weather experienced compared to 2017.

The decline of 2.2% in final energy consumption over the previous year was mainly due to the warmer weather: the number of heating degree days, a significant indicator of the amount of energy used for heating, decreased by 10.6% compared to 2017. However, in 2018 an increase was seen in other factors which determine the long-term growth trend in energy consumption. The permanently resident population (+0.7%), gross domestic product (+2.5%), number of registered motor vehicles (+1.0%), and the number of homes (these increased, but no detailed figures are available as yet). Increases in energy efficiency and effects seen from use of alternate sources of energy tend to counter the growth in energy consumption. The annual ex-post analyses (to be published in October 2019) will provide further information about the main factors influencing energy consumption.

Decline in energy carriers for heating

The warm weather led to a significant decline in consumption of energy carriers for heating purposes: compared to 2017 consumption of extra-light heating oil fell by 10.1% and use of gas by 5.6%. Electricity consumption also fell (-1.4%) (see SFOE press release of 18 April 2019). These three energy carriers contributed more than half of the final energy consumed (2018: 51.9%).

Use of industrial waste in energy production has increased by 1.9% (proportion of final energy consumption in 2018: 1.3%) As in the previous year, consumption of coal (-6.9%) and of heavy types of heating oil (-50.0%) has fallen. In contrast, the use of petroleum coke increased in 2018 (+42.1%). The proportion these three energy carriers contributed to overall energy consumption is very low (<1%).

Vehicle fuel consumption up

Overall vehicle fuel consumption rose in comparison to the preceding year (+1.4%). The trend of substituting diesel for petrol as vehicle fuel continued unabated: sales of diesel rose by 1.3%, while the consumption of petrol fell by 1.6%. Sales of aviation fuel rose by 5.7%, the greatest absolute increase seen in all energy carriers. Fossil fuels provided one third (35.4%) of the final energy consumed.

Fall in consumption of renewables

The effect of the warm weather was also reflected in the consumption of renewable energy carriers used for heating. The amount of wood used for heating fell by 6.3%. Use of ambient heat with heat pumps was also 1.8% below the value for 2017, as was consumption from district heating (-2.1%). On the other hand, an increase in consumption from solar heating plants was registered (+2.0%). The proportion these three energy carriers contributed to overall energy consumption in 2018 amounted to 9.2%: (wood for energy production: 4.6%, ambient heat: 2.0%, district heating plants: 2.3%, solar heat: 0.3%).

Direct use of biogas rose by 5.7%. Taking into account biogas fed into the gas mains (counted as gas for statistical purposes), use of biogas rose by 6.7%. The share of the biogas fed into the mains in overall gas consumption in 2018 amounted to 1.0%.

In comparison to 2017, consumption of biogenic fuels increased significantly once again (+36.2%) and the share of biogenic fuels in the overall turnover of petrol and diesel fuels was 3.5% in 2018 (2017: 2.6%). In addition to the abolishment of the petroleum tax on biogenic fuels, the fact that such fuels are now imputed to CO2 compensation measures has led to increased sales.

Switzerland's overall energy statistics for 2018 will be available in the second half of July 2019 on Internet and in print at the beginning of August. 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

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