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Swiss electricity balance 2020: Pandemic causes electricity consumption to fall


Current estimates by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) show: Due to the pandemic measures, less electricity was consumed in Switzerland in 2020. Compared to 2019, the decrease amounts to around 2.6% or around 1.5 terawatt hours (TWh). Domestic electricity production also decreased in 2020. In the first year after the decommissioning of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant, around 2.8% or around 2 TWh less electricity was produced compared to 2019.

The SFOE's provisional estimates are based on the definitive statistical values for the months of January to October 2020, which it publishes here under "Total generation and supply of electrical energy in Switzerland 2020". The values for November and December 2020 were estimated. The definitive values of the Swiss electricity balance for 2020 will be published on 16 April 2021, and the complete electricity statistics for 2020 on 18 June 2021.

Less electricity consumption due to pandemic measures from March to May 2020

According to the current estimate, Switzerland's final electricity consumption (final consumption = national consumption minus grid losses) was around 55.7 TWh in 2020. This is 2.6% less than in 2019 (57.2 TWh). The lockdown imposed due to the Covid19 pandemic left statistically "visible" traces, particularly in the second half of March, as well as in April and May 2020. Electricity consumption decreased significantly during this period. Energeiaplus reported on this as early as the end of March 2020, when, for example, the early closure of ski resorts in some regions led to declines in consumption, some of which were significant.

Less domestic electricity production due to Mühleberg decommissioning

According to the current estimate, domestic electricity production (national generation) in 2020 was around 69.9 TWh. This is around 2.8% or around 2 TWh less than in 2019 (71.9 TWh). 58% of the electricity produced came from hydropower (run-of-river power plants 25.2%, storage power plants 32.8%), 33% from nuclear power plants and 9% from thermal and renewable electricity production plants. The shares of hydropower and thermal and renewable generation have increased compared to 2019, but the share of nuclear power has decreased significantly. The reason for this is the decommissioning of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant in December 2019. In 2019, it was still represented in the statistics with around 3 TWh.

Fewer electricity imports and exports

Overall, less electricity was both imported and exported in 2020. The export surplus from physical imports and exports decreased to around 5.6 TWh in 2020 (previous year 6.3 TWh).

From now on, the SFOE will publish "t+50 days" estimates every month

From the statistics month of January 2021, the SFOE will now publish estimates of the monthly electricity balance with a time horizon of "t+50 days" on the internet every month. The definitive monthly electricity balances will then follow as before with a time horizon of "t+90 days".

Gerold Truniger, Analyses and Perspectives Expert, Swiss Federal Office of Energy

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