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Switzerland looks to safeguard gas supplies for winter 2023-2024

Balls of energy: a gas storage facility in Zurich. © Keystone / Alexandra Wey

With an eye on possible shortages next winter, the government plans to repeat this year’s mitigation strategy of buying reserve stocks.

This content was published on February 1, 2023 minutes
Keystone-SDA/dos

The decision is a repeat of what the government already outlined in May 2022: to head off possible winter gas shortages, authorities want to ensure that the country has six terawatt hours’ worth of gas in reserve stocks in neighbouring countries.

The physical reserve accounts for some 15% of the country’s annual use.

+ What Switzerland would do if gas became scarce

Switzerland, a large producer of renewable (especially hydro) energy, has a relatively low demand for gas, which covers around 15% of total energy consumption. Around 42% of it is used to heat houses, and the rest in industry and in the service and transport sectors.

Switzerland also lacks seasonal gas storage facilities, which is why it has to sign such deals with neighbouring countries like France.

The government said on Wednesday that while reserve stocks in France are guaranteed by contract, reserves held elsewhere run a non-negligeable risk of not being available in the case of a severe gas shortage affecting all of Europe.

And while measures last year included buying emergency options for non-Russian gas, this year no Russian gas is likely to be on the European market at all, and thus such a measure is not part of the plans, the executive said.

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