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Appliance efficiency leads to drop in Swiss electricity consumption

The camera is pointed upwards at a blue sky with wisps of white cloud and the sun peers out from the dark outlines of mountains at the bottom of the picture. At the centre of the image is an electricity pylon.
More efficient electronic devices and industry processes helped to stem the growth in consumption. Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

In 2023, 1.7% less electricity was consumed than in the previous year, apparently due to more efficient appliances.  

According to the Federal Office of Energy (FOE), electricity production also rose by 13.5% to hit a new record.  

In 2023, 72.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity were produced in Switzerland, a new record, compared to 63.5 billion kWh in 2022, the FOE said on Thursday. After deducting storage pump consumption, net generation in 2023 was 66.7 billion kWh. 

According to a press release, national electricity consumption was 60.3 billion kWh last year – 56.1 billion kWh after deducting distribution and transmission losses – which was 1.7% or around one billion kWh down on the previous year. According to the FOE, this is roughly equivalent to the annual consumption of 200,000 households.  

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More electricity exported than imported  

In 2023, Swiss gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.7% and the population by 1.26%, according to the FOE. Heating degree days also increased by 1.8% compared to the previous year. The fact that electricity consumption nevertheless fell was due to more energy-efficient electronic devices and more efficient industry processes, disrupting growth in consumption, the FOE’s Michael Kost told Swiss public radio, SRF.  

According to FOE, Switzerland also exported more electricity than it imported last year, resulting in an export surplus of 6.4 billion kWh, as imports of 27.5 billion kWh were offset by exports of 33.9 billion kWh. Switzerland therefore achieved a positive foreign trade balance of CHF976 million ($1.1 billion), compared to CHF71 million in 2022. 

Increase in hydropower output 

Hydropower plants accounted for 56.6% of electricity generation, nuclear for 32.4% and thermal and renewable for 11%, the SFOE said.

Hydropower output increased by almost 22% in 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching 40.8 billion kWh – the second-highest result ever after record year 2001. Output at Switzerland’s four nuclear power plants, meanwhile, increased by 1% to 23.3 billion kWh. 

Translated from German by DeepL/kp 

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