Energy – Facts and Figures

The main sources of energy in Switzerland are oil, natural gas, nuclear power and hydropower. Since 2005 Switzerland has seen a surge in the use of renewable energies such as ambient heat, biomass, wind power and solar power.

The Solar Impulse aircraft over the Lake of Geneva
The Solar Impulse aircraft is flying around the world using solar energy only. © Solar Impulse / Jean Revillard

 

Petroleum and other fuels are the main sources of energy in Switzerland (50.6%), followed by electricity (25%), gas (13.5%) and wood (4.4%).

Electricity is mainly generated by hydropower (59.9%), nuclear power (33.5%) and conventional thermal power plants (2.3%, non-renewable).

Average energy consumption per person in Switzerland has fallen by around 14.5% since 1990. However, given that the resident population has grown by 23.4% over the same period, total energy consumption actually has increased by 5.5%.

In 2015 per capita electricity consumption in Switzerland was 7,033 kWh. This is higher than the 2014 rate for France (6,233 kWh), Germany (6,225 kWh) and the Netherlands (6,108 kWh), but lower than that of Norway (21,091 kWh), Finland (14,477 kWh), Sweden (12,597 kWh), Belgium (7,225 kWh) and Austria (7,081 kWh).

Switzerland imports nearly half of its crude oil from Africa (39% Nigeria, 6% Libya, 1% Egypt); the remaining half comes from Mexico (18%), the United States (12%), Kazakhstan (8%) and other countries.

Over the years intense public opposition has scuppered several nuclear power plant projects. This was the case in 1975 when plans to build a nuclear power plant in Kaiseraugst (canton of Aargau) had to be abandoned as the result of public protests.

At present, Switzerland is in the midst of an energy transition. One of the aims of the country's ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ is the phase-out of nuclear power.

Switzerland has 638 hydroelectric power plants. They account for 59.9% of total domestic electricity production.

The largest dam in Switzerland is the 285 metre-high Grande-Dixence dam (canton of Valais). It is also the third-highest gravity dam in the world.