11.03.2019 | Figures on the topic of energy - and a look into the past
Energy is an important factor for our modern way of living. It provides power, allows us to work, keeps our homes warm, and much more. So it's helpful to understand the topic. You will find some energy facts here. Part 6
In Switzerland, the power price for households comprises the grid costs, taxes/fees and production costs. The prices vary for households depending on their locations (details here). According to the supervisory authority Elcom, the average price in 2016 was 20.6 cents/kWh of electricity.
The Swiss power grid is huge. It comprises 250,000 kilometres of lines - equalling 6 times the earth's circumference. The Swiss power grid is divided into seven grid levels. These include the extra-high voltage (380kV/220 kV), the high voltage (36 to 150 kV), the medium voltage (1 kV to 36 kV) and the low voltage level (up to 1 kV). In addition to the grid levels, there are three transformer levels: Voltage is transformed from one grid level to another in substations (see graphic).
The Swiss hydropower plants are impressive structures and, as a result, a tourist attraction. Some 10,000 people per year visit the Swiss hydropower plants. As of 2018, it will be possible to visit the newest power plant, the Limmern PSP with the longest dam measuring 1054 metres, and located at the highest elevation. More information available here.
The Rhine River is used intensively to produce electricity from hydropower, for example the Vorder- (Anterior Rhine) and the Hinterrhein (Posterior Rhine). This also includes the High Rhine between Schaffhausen and Birsfelden (BL). Eleven power plants with an installed capacity of 830 MW are located in these regions and produce an average of some 5 TWh of electricity per year. See more details here.
Electricity from hydropower was produced for the first time in Switzerland in the 19th century in St. Moritz. Since then, Switzerland has realised numerous pioneer achievements, for example the construction of the highest gravity dam in the world. The Grand Dixence dam in the Valais has a height of 285 metres, only 39 metres less than the Eiffel Tour. And the longest dam in Switzerland with 1,054 metres is located at the Muttsee. It is situated nearly 2500 metres above sea level, making it the highest dam in Europe. The dam belongs to the state-of-the-art Axpo Limmern pumped storage plant with an installed capacity of 1520 MW.
You watch TV a lot at home? This does not only cost reception fees, but consumes some electricity. A TV with an electrical output of 120 watts that runs an average of 4 hours a day 365 days a year requires 175.2 kWh of electricity. At an average price of 20.5 centimes per kWh, this costs you just under 36 francs.