Dossier Power Grids

Lifelines of modern society

They bring electricity from the power plant to the consumer by means of the transmission and distribution grids. Axpo maintains its own grid infrastructure in Switzerland. The Axpo distribution grids connect the transmission grid of the national grid company, Swissgrid, to customer distribution grids.

Axpo grids supply all of Northeastern Switzerland, the Principality of Liechtenstein as well as parts of the cantons of Schwyz, Zug, Graubünden and Wallis with electricity. The supply area with three million residents and a prospering economy covers one-third of Switzerland. This provides up to 3200 MW of output for customers. 

Secure and efficient supply around the clock

Security of supply is a high priority for Axpo. This means that the desired quantity of energy in the required quality must be available in the entire power grid at all times, at appropriate grid usage prices. To do so, power grids must be operated, monitored, maintained or replaced. Thanks to investments in grid infrastructure and the broad expertise of its employees, Axpo maintains high grid stability and reliability.

Operation of the Axpo grids is the responsibility of the Energy and Network Control Center in Baden. The centre is, so to speak, the brain behind the Axpo electricity grid. The Network Control Center manages and monitors the grid and the power plants around the clock, 365 days per year. Information from dozens of power plants and power grids is collected here. Some 60 000 messages and 25 000 measurement parameters are processed online and developed into approximately 3000 images for the operators.

Increasing electrical output

Axpo strives to maintain a high level of supply security. This means taking into account the developments in society and the economy and the growing demands of the energy future by expanding renewable energies. Axpo is making sustainable investments in grid expansion and gradually increasing grid voltage from 50 to 110 kilovolts. This makes electrical systems more efficient and reduces losses by 75%. Customers and the entire supply region benefit from a modern, forward-looking, reliable supply of energy.  

Overhead and underground lines

Electricity is transmitted by means of overhead or underground lines. The technology used depends on various factors, for example the technical requirements, local conditions, environmental protection policies and costs. As a rule, the lower the voltage, the more frequently underground lines are used. With increasing voltage, the complexity of construction and grid operation increases as well. Axpo’s some 2100-kilometer-long distribution grid consists of 84% overhead lines and 16% underground lines. Axpo is open to both technologies and uses the one that makes the most sense based on objective criteria.

Integrated solutions that deliver

Decades of experience in the construction and operation of transmission and distribution grid infrastructure also make us a competent service provider for other grid and power plant operators. Axpo specialists consistently strive to develop sustainable, cost-efficient, tailored solutions in all areas of grid infrastructure and data grid services. You’ll find further information about Axpo’s services here.  

Electricity's journey

Power grids bring electricity from the power plant to the consumer by means of the transmission and distribution grids. On the way to the electrical outlet the electricity has to be transformed into the required voltage. This takes place on several levels, so-called grid levels:

  • Extra-high-voltage grid with 380/220 kilovolts
  • High-voltage or supra-regional grid with 50 to 150 kilovolts
  • Medium-voltage regional grid with 1 to 30 kilovolts
  • Low-voltage local grid up to 1 kilovolt

Swissgrid, the national grid company, operates Switzerland’s distribution grid, and ensures energy transport over great distances. In this process, Axpo has an important intermediary role: the Axpo distribution grids (110, 50 and 16 kilovolts) connect Swissgrid’s transmission grid (220 and 380 kilovolts) with the distribution grids of Axpo partners – the cantonal, city and municipal utilities. 

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