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Energy crisis ‘will last many years’, says economics minister

Parmelin said that before the end of March next year the risk of a shortage was very small © Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

Swiss Economics Minister Guy Parmelin assumes the energy crisis will last several years. It is important, he says, not only to think about the winter, but to do everything to ensure that Switzerland produces more energy – that means more renewable energies and greater efficiency.

In 2023 and 2024 Switzerland will still be dependent on oil and gas, Parmelin said in an interview on Saturday with the CH media. After that, the situation would depend on how quickly Switzerland could expand its production.

Asked whether the government had prepared too little for a crisis, Parmelin admitted that in the case of energy the risks had been underestimated. “In recent decades Switzerland had relied too much on importing energy when in doubt,” he said.

The government had launched a campaign to save energy, he said, adding that the initial results were “satisfactory”. “The public has been made aware of the issue. Energy prices are still high. This helps to save money,” he said.

Risk of economic crisis

With regard to the energy shortage, Parmelin said that an ordinance was in place for gas. For electricity, experts said that before the end of March next year the risk of a shortage was very small. Ordinances for electricity should exist by the end of November.

He said the government wanted to use the time and work together with the associations to make the ordinances even more business friendly. After that, the draft would go into consultation and then the government would take its decision.

Parmelin also saw a danger that the energy crisis could lead to an economic crisis. Germany, Switzerland’s most important trading partner, is threatened by a recession, he said, which could have an impact on the Swiss economy.

On Wednesday the Swiss government put forward plans to create reserve power plants aimed at shoring up the country’s energy supplies during the winter. Like other European countries, Switzerland faces the prospects of power shortages, primarily due to Russia restricting gas supplies.

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