Switzerland will avoid an energy crisis this winter, official study reveals
The Swiss Federal Council has confirmed that energy supplies in Switzerland will not be threatened this winter. After months of headlines about the prospect of blackouts caused by energy shortages, new simulations completed by the Federal Office of Energy (FOE) have revealed that the energy-saving measures implemented by the government are enough to avoid shortages.
Energy crisis in Switzerland avoided, says Federal Council
"The security of electricity supply in Switzerland for the winter of 2022 to 2023 is not seriously threatened," the Federal Council said in a statement on Wednesday. The council cited a new report by the FOE, which found that with hydroelectric power reserves in place, emergency power plants built and the council’s energy-saving plan implemented, Switzerland will avoid blackouts in almost all scenarios.
To back up this claim, the FOE has created a number of computer simulations to see whether changes to the weather in Switzerland, domestic energy consumption and supplies from abroad will lead to blackouts this winter. Up to 2.400 simulations were made for each scenario.
Switzerland to avoid energy shortages in most scenarios
In their most likely scenario - where energy supplies from French nuclear power plants are reduced by 35 percent, but gas supplies are unaffected - the FOE said there should be enough power to supply Switzerland during the winter. However, this will depend on whether energy supplies from Germany and other European states will continue to flow.
In the event of a gas shortage - where EU electricity production sourced from gas is reduced by 15 percent - in 87 percent of simulations, Switzerland will emerge from the crisis unscathed. In the remaining 13 percent, the alpine nation would see an energy shortage of between one and two “winter days” - totalling between 170 and 340 Gigawatt hours of electricity. However, the federal government was quick to assure that hydroelectric reserves and emergency power plants will make up for the shortfall.
Energy crisis in Switzerland only possible in worst case scenario
If 50 percent of nuclear output from France is cut, and the nuclear power plants in Swiss cantons are forced to shut down, the FOE predicted that there would be energy shortages in areas of Europe, just not Switzerland. The government expected there to be enough hydroelectric power and supply from abroad to accommodate for the shortfall.
Finally, in the worst-case scenario, where there are gas shortages across Europe and no Swiss nuclear plants online, Switzerland would face blackouts. In this situation, which the FOE said was “very unlikely", the alpine nation would have to find extra power worth the equivalent of six days of regular energy consumption.
Swiss energy situation remains positive as minister resigns
In all, the FOE concluded that the policies implemented by the Federal Council and the efforts of the public and cities to reduce energy consumption will be enough to avoid energy shortages this winter. This will likely come as a relief for Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, who has recently announced her resignation due to her husband having a stroke.