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Energy consumption reaches new heights

Heightened demand for electricity contributed to increased energy consumption last year Keystone Archive

Energy consumption has reached an all-time high in Switzerland, climbing by 0.5 per cent in 2004.

This content was published on June 15, 2005 - 13:59

The Federal Energy Office said the increase was slowed only by higher energy costs, warmer temperatures and falling aircraft fuel sales.

The office said on Wednesday that overall energy consumption reached 877,290 terajoules last year, prompted by changes in the economy and population growth. A joule is the standard measure of energy and work.

It added that increases use of natural gas (+3.3 per cent) and electricity (+1.9 per cent) were largely responsible for heightened energy consumption.

Other sources also contributed to the increase including heating wood, renewable energies, and heavy fuels such as heating oil.

But coal usage dropped by almost five per cent, while industrial waste recycling and use of extra-light fuel such as motor oils fell slightly. These light fuels account for nearly a quarter of all fuel consumption.

The overall fuel market fell by 0.5 per cent in 2004. Aviation fuel consumption dropped by over 5 per cent last year, while use of unleaded petrol for motor vehicles decreased by 1.8 per cent.

More diesel

Demand for diesel grew significantly on the other hand, climbing by 7.4 per cent. According to the office, this increase is due to a larger number of cars being equipped with diesel engines.

More than a quarter of all new car registrations in 2004 were for vehicles with these types of motors.

Overall demand for petrol and diesel continued to rise last year, following a trend that began in 2003. The two previous years had seen demand drop.

Besides the rising popularity of diesel engines, a higher number of motor vehicles on the road (+1.7 per cent) also contributed to increased fuel demand.

The office said that measures in favour of reasonable energy use have helped keep the heightened demand within reasonable limits despite increases of the country’s gross domestic product, the population and the number of motor vehicles.

But it warns these measures will not suffice to rein in energy consumption in the future.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Energy consumption increased mainly due to increased demand for natural gas and electricity.
Demand for renewable energies grew by 3.9%.
Fuel consumption fell by half a percentage point.
This drop was helped by less demand for aviation kerosene (-5.6%) and petrol, but was offset by diesel consumption (+7.4%).
Main sources of energy consumption: petrol or oil (57%), electricity (23%) and gas (12%).

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