Electricity market facts and figures

Key facts about the Swiss electricity market, Axpo's activities in Switzerland and internationally in brief - Facts and figures

Do you want to quickly find out about individual topics and facts on the electricity market in Switzerland? Then don't look any further. Here are the answers – short and sweet. 

The Swiss electricity market

  • Electricity production: Over the past 25 years, Switzerland has generated an average of 60 terawatt hours (TWh = 60 billion kilowatt hours) of net electricity. However, net generation fluctuates between 53 and 68 TWh depending on the year. In 2018, domestic electricity generation (net) amounted to 64.2 TWh.

    Overall energy statistics from the SFOE
  • Power stations in Switzerland: There are 650 hydroelectric power stations in Switzerland today with an output of at least 300 kilowatts (kW) from the generator, around 1000 small hydroelectric power stations, four nuclear power stations (the Mühleberg nuclear power station will be shut down by the operator BKW on 20 December 2019), 37 large wind power plants, around 70,000 photovoltaic plants and around 960 thermal electricity production plants (biogas, waste incineration, cogeneration plants, etc.).
  • Electricity mix: In 2021, around 68% of the electricity from Swiss sockets came from large hydropower plants and non-subsidized small hydropower plants. 18.5% came from nuclear power plants, 11.5% from new renewable energies (solar, wind, biomass, small hydropower), 1.9% from fossil fuels.
  • Electricity consumption: Consumption and production in Switzerland are roughly balanced. In 2021, 58.1 TWh of electricity was consumed, 4.3% more than in the previous year. According to the Energy Strategy 2050, total energy consumption (fossil fuels, gas, electricity) must fall by 43 % by 2035.
  • Electricity consumption per household: An average Swiss four-person household consumes about 4500 to 5000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year (including electric hot water preparation). 
  • Electricity imports/exports: Over the year as a whole, Switzerland usually produces enough electricity to cover domestic consumption and can therefore export electricity. However, electricity production is particularly high in the summer, whereas in the winter Switzerland is dependent on imports: The last time Switzerland was able to cover its own electricity requirements in winter was in 2002/03. Since then, it has been heavily dependent on imports at this time of year. What's more:Since 2017, Switzerland has become a net importer throughout the year. 
  • Electricity utilities: The electricity supply to Swiss end customers is ensured by some 630 electricity supply companies. Many of the municipal utilities are also responsible for supplying their customers with water and gas. However, 70 % of these are pure distribution companies that transport electricity to customers via their networks but do not operate any power plants and therefore do not produce electricity. 
  • Ownership: Almost 90% of the Swiss electricity utilities are owned by the public sector, i.e. cantons and municipalities, around 8% are privately owned by Swiss investors and 2% by foreign investors.
  • Electricity prices: Electricity prices for end customers will rise sharply in 2023. This is based on calculations by the Swiss Federal Electricity Commission ElCom. A typical household will pay an average price of 26.95 centimes per kilowatt hour in 2023. This represents an increase of around 27 percent compared to the previous year. Depending on the supply area, however, prices could rise much more. The reason for the price increase is the tense price situation on the electricity markets, which has been exacerbated by the Ukraine war. 
  • How the electricity price is formed: The electricity price paid by Swiss households consists of three components. These are the grid costs (delivery from the power plant to the customer), the production costs and the taxes (water rate, compensatory feed-in remuneration - KEV, etc.). They each amount to approximately one third of the final price for the consumer.
  • Electricity grid: The Swiss electricity grid is huge. It consists of 250,000 kilometres of lines - and thus extends around the world more than 6 times. The Swiss electricity grid is divided into seven grid levels. These include extra-high voltage (380 kV/220 kV), high voltage (36 to 150 kV), medium voltage (1 kV to 36 kV) and the low voltage level (up to 1 kV). The grid levels also include three transformation stages: In so-called substations/transformer stations, the voltage is converted from one level to another.
  • Electricity market: There are around 5.1 million electricity customers in Switzerland. Since 2009, the electricity market has been partially liberalised. Large electricity consumers (consumption of over 100,000 kWh) are free to choose their electricity supplier. That is around 32,500 companies, which corresponds to 0.8% of all end customers. All other consumers are only allowed to purchase their electricity from the local electricity supplier.
  • Security of supply: Just a few years ago, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy assumed that the security of electricity supply in Switzerland would be guaranteed until 2025. This has changed fundamentally with the current energy crisis. The Federal Council has launched an energy saving campaign for the winter of 2022/23. It also wants to strengthen security of supply with various measures, such as a reserve gas-fired power plant in Birr or a hydropower reserve. The Federal Council is also looking ahead to the winter of 2023/24 with concern: the duration and effects of the war in Ukraine are uncertain. In addition, it could become an even greater challenge if the gas storage facilities have to be refilled from an even lower point. 
  • Electricity hub: Switzerland is Europe's electricity hub. The country counts 41 cross-border connections to neighbouring countries. In addition to its central location, it also owes its important role to its hydropower, which is available in seconds. Today, around 10% of the electricity exchanged between the 34 countries in Europe flows through Switzerland.
  • Electricity yesterday and today: In Switzerland, electricity was generated for the first time in the 19th century in St. Moritz by means of hydropower. Since then, Switzerland has achieved numerous pioneering achievements, such as the construction of the world's highest gravity dam. With a height of 285 metres, the Grand Dixence Wall in Valais is only 39 metres smaller than the Eiffel Tower. At 1,054 metres, the Muttsee reservoir has the longest dam in Switzerland. It is located at nearly 2500 metres above sea level and is therefore the highest dam in Europe. The dam is part of the Axpo state-of-the-art Limmern pumped storage plant (LPSP) with a total installed capacity of 1520 MW.

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