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Swiss consumed 4.3 percent more electricity in 2021

Nuclear plants fell short by 19.4% because of maintenance work carried out at the Leibstadt plant over several months. © Keystone / Alexandra Wey

The Alpine nation consumed 2.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) more electricity in 2021, equivalent to the annual consumption of 479,800 households.

“In addition to the pandemic-related ‘compensatory effects’ in the second quarter, general economic development, the weather and population development increased consumption in 2021,” said the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) on Thursday.

The total electricity consumption was 58.1 billion kWh in a year where the GDP increased by 3.7% and the population by 0.8%. The number of heating degree days (outside temperature below 18°Ci or 65°F) increased by 15.3% which also contributed to more electricity use as heating alone accounts for 10% of electricity consumption.

Domestic electricity production decreased by 8.2%. Hydropower plants produced 2.7% less electricity while nuclear plants fell short by 19.4% because of maintenance work carried out at the Leibstadt plant over several months.

“Hydropower plants contributed 61.5% to overall electricity production (fluvial power plants 26.4%, storage power plants 35.1%) while nuclear power plants supplied 28.9% and conventional thermal plants and renewable energy plants generated 9.6%,” said the SFOE.

Switzerland imported 2.4 billion kWh more of electricity than it exported (compared to a 5.6 billion kWh export surplus in 2020) and thus had a negative foreign trade balance of CHF258 million (compared to a net positive of CHF293 million in 2020).

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