Swiss energy mix

Switzerland is dependent on oil imports for just under half of its total energy needs (49,2% in 2017). Another 15% is from gas, and a tiny amount of coal power (0.5%) is imported.

Switzerland has the good fortune that with the Alps it can generate around 60% of its electricity from hydropower. The rest of its domestic power is primarily nuclear power. However, it imports and exports daily as much electricity as it consumes. It imports from France (primarily nuclear) and Germany (a mix of around half from coal, one-third renewable, and the rest nuclear).

Switzerland stores some of the excess electricity from these foreign sources in pumped storage hydroelectric plants (PSH), when the price is low, and regenerates electricity when the price is higher, including export to Italy.

The cost to the Swiss for energy imports is 11 billion francs per year.

Its domestic electricity generation, which is a quarter (24.8%) of its total energy demand, is largely carbon-free, coming from 58% hydropower, and the rest from nuclear power or non-hydro renewables.

The largest consumer of energy is traffic, at 36.3% in 2017. Households consumed 27.8%, industry 18.5%, and services 16.4%. In 2017, 49.2% of energy consumption in Switzerland was from mineral oil products: fuel for heating (15.1%) and vehicles (34.1%).

Fuel showed a 2.4% decrease between 2016-17.

Other hydrocarbons: gas 14.0%, coal 0.5%.

24.8% is for electricity (0.4% increase over 2016).

4.5% wood

2.4% district heating

1.5% industrial waste

3.1% other renewables

The question of market maturity is the most interesting one. The wholesale prices on the stock exchange serve as a yardstick. In recent years these have fluctuated between 3 and 6 cents per kilowatt hour. Photovoltaics and wind power are already the most cost-effective grid-connected energy sources today. Support programmes have led to massive cost reductions worldwide. Solar power has become 80 to 90 percent cheaper within only 10 years. In Switzerland, new, larger photovoltaic systems produce less than 10 centimes per kilowatt hour.

With conventional energies, the situation is as follows: The price for electricity from new hydropower plants is between 10 and 20 cents, electricity from new coal-fired power plants is in the range of 17 cents. In the case of gas-fired power plants, the full cost price is approximately 10 cents, depending on the number of operating hours. Electricity from newly built nuclear power stations is considerably more expensive, around 12 cents at best.