Winter energy shortage unlikely in Switzerland

An abundance of winter rain has kept reservoirs stocked above normal levels in Switzerland. © Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Switzerland is almost certain to have enough energy to meet its needs this winter, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (Elcom).

This content was published on January 12, 2023

“There is a high probability that we will get through this winter without a shortage,” Elcom head Urs Meister told Swiss public broadcaster SRF on Thursday.

“The most important factor is the relatively high temperatures this winter. As a result, significantly less gas is being consumed and gas storage facilities in Europe are far less depleted than in previous years.”

An abnormally mild autumn has been followed by record high temperatures around Switzerland this winter.

In addition to gas savings around Europe, France has quickly renovated and repaired nuclear power plants, allowing Switzerland to import all its winter energy needs so far this winter.

An abundance of rain is also shoring up Switzerland’s domestic electricity production by filling up reservoirs at hydro-electric dams.

Reservoirs are three-quarters full this winter, compared to an average 55-60% capacity at this time of the year, said Meister.

However, Switzerland and Europe are not yet out of the woods concerning energy security, Meister added.

Future winters may prove harder to negotiate given Europe’s continued reliance on Russian gas, he said.

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