Switzerland one of the most energy-dependent nations in Europe

Switzerland one of the most energy-dependent nations in Europe

According to a new report from the Swiss Energy Foundation (SES), Switzerland is only able to rely on its own sources of energy for 29,7 percent of the year, before the country has to import resources from abroad. This makes the alpine nation one of the most energy-dependent nations in Europe.

Switzerland now relying on energy credit from abroad

According to the press release, reported in Blick, April 17 marked Switzerland’s "Energy Independence Day" - which means that the country could only survive on its own energy supplies for 107 days before it has to turn to imports from abroad. The amount of energy produced domestically has increased over the past few decades, meaning the independence day has moved from March 11 in 2002 to April 17 today.

From now, Switzerland is relying on “energy credit”, meaning the country would not be able to heat homes, run businesses or operate public utilities like transport and water supplies without help from the outside. The SES noted that more than 70 percent of energy in Switzerland is imported, which includes all of the country’s petrol, diesel, natural gas and nuclear fuel supplies.

Switzerland one of the most energy-dependent nations in Europe

Every year, the country spends an average of 8 billion francs on importing energy from overseas. In 2022, when energy prices skyrocketed as a consequence of the war in Ukraine, the country spent 13 billion francs on power.

In all, with a rate of 29,7 percent, Switzerland is one of the most energy-dependent countries in Europe, well behind the likes of Estonia (98,6), Iceland (84,8), Sweden (78,8) and even some of our immediate neighbours like France (55,8), Germany (36,5) and Austria (48). Only four nations are more dependent on energy from abroad; Belgium, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta, with the latter having its “Energy Independence Day” on January 11 every year.

Fears of energy shortage renew calls for energy independence

These factors are especially prescient given the events of last year, which saw a genuine threat of energy shortages in Switzerland because the majority of the nation’s gas supplies came from Germany - which was itself trying to store gas and ween itself off Russian imports. As was shown in the government’s final emergency energy-saving plan, if supplies from abroad are cut off, and emergency stockpiles are drained, Switzerland cannot survive on its own for long.

Therefore, the SES has called on the government to make the country more energy-independent. They concluded that with proper exploitation of the country’s resources, upgrades to housing, decarbonising the building and transport sectors, and by phasing out nuclear power, the country could push its independence day back to October.

For more information about the study, check out the SES website (in German).

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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