18.11.2022 | Extraordinary measures generate more than 1 TWh of extra energy
The power supply situation this winter is tense. The energy industry and politicians are joining forces to ensure that there will be no shortages in Switzerland. The federal government's hydroelectric power reserve, for example, has come about successfully. Axpo also made an offer, but was not considered. We greatly regret this. However, the hydropower reserve is only one of several measures to secure winter electricity. Axpo has taken further measures to ensure that more energy is available in winter and that it can continue to make its high contribution to the supply.
At the end of October, the hydropower reserve of 400 gigawatt hours auctioned by the federal government was successfully established. Axpo participated in the auction and submitted a bid corresponding to its share of power plant energy storage. Our bid was not considered, which we find regrettable. However, while Axpo’s offer and its failure have been interpreted by some as an indifference on our part to the impending electricity shortage, nothing could be further from the truth.
Axpo sold almost all of this winter's electricity up to three years ago and will reliably supply it to customers in Switzerland over the coming months. For electricity that is artificially withheld for the hydropower reserve, replacement electricity for existing customers must be bought on the market. At current prices, this is a large sum.
Regardless of the reserve, Axpo has not been idle in recent months and has voluntarily procured more energy for the coming winter at our own expense. It is important to note that the hydropower reserve does not bring more energy onto the market and does not therefore reduce the probability of an electricity shortage. Instead, it initially withdraws energy from the market to be used as a reserve during an emergency. This means that, in addition to the reserve, measures are also needed to increase the energy actually available in the coming months. This reduces the probability that power will run short. Axpo has implemented precisely such measures.
Axpo deliberately withheld water in the summer so that storage facilities are now practically full, despite the extreme drought. This enabled us to shift around 1 TWh of electricity into the winter. Furthermore, in view of the tense situation, Axpo postponed the renovation of the large Gigerwald reservoir at short notice to provide additional winter electricity of up to 160 GWh. This alone corresponds to around 40% of the hydropower reserve. We are currently working on further short- and medium-term measures.
As Switzerland's largest producer, Axpo is not on the sidelines. Far from it. We consider it our duty to make a substantial contribution to the security of supply on a daily basis even though, since the partial market liberalisation of 2009, Axpo no longer has a monopoly with a mandated supply and tied customers. With more than 100 power plants, we make a substantial daily contribution to Switzerland's security of supply. Since 2013, Axpo has made 70% of its all investments in Switzerland. Our abiding ambition and commitment is to counter the looming electricity shortfall through innovation and investment in Switzerland.
Around 30 percent of Switzerland's electricity comes from Axpo. We will reliably deliver this electricity to Swiss customers over the coming months, even if we are not part of the hydropower reserve.