Energy deemed most serious problem facing economy

The problem of electricity in winter remains unsolved, warns Christoph Mäder, president of economiesuisse Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Energy supply is the most pressing problem for the Swiss economy, according to Christoph Mäder, president of economiesuisse, the Swiss Business Federation.

This content was published on June 11, 2022 minutes

The fact that Switzerland could be confronted with a power shortage as early as this winter is an “enormously threatening prospect for businesses”, he says.

“Many industrial processes depend on a full power supply. If it is reduced, nothing runs anymore,” Mäder, head of the largest umbrella organisation for the economy, said in an interviewExternal link with Finanz und Wirtschaft on Saturday.

He said companies would take precautions and implement more and more substitute measures – diesel generators, for example, were being installed “over a large area”. However, this would cause additional costs and pollute the environment. Gas could be partially replaced, but only 30% of industrial production could be converted from gas to oil, he added.

Winter problem

In Mäder’s opinion, Switzerland will not be able to “get out of this threatening situation in time”. Relying solely on hydropower and photovoltaics was insufficient, he said.

In the case of photovoltaics, the increase in capacity to date does not give grounds for optimism that the necessary magnitude will be reached within a reasonable timeframe, he said. “In addition, the problem of winter electricity remains unsolved. Every measure should aim to contribute to reducing the winter electricity deficit.”

In March several business associations presented possible measures against an electricity crisis. Among other things, they called for a higher threshold value for electricity imports in winter, in addition to reconsidering the operating time of nuclear power plants and opening the electricity market completely.

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