The fact that almost two-thirds of our final energy needs (63% in 2017) are currently met by fossil products imported from abroad is a result of their high availability, their technical as well as economic benefits, and the inertia of our energy system, which does not have the capacity to move quickly towards alternative solutions.
Our production and consumption of electricity vary according to the seasons. Our indigenous electricity production peaks in summer, when run-of-river hydroelectric plants benefit from melting snow. In contrast, we consume more electricity in the winter, when we produce less.
Compared internationally, despite its low-carbon electricity,Switzerland does not have a good track record of CO2 emissions. It therefore needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, particularly inthe transport and construction sectors.
More than 90% of the hydropower potential in Switzerland is already being used. It is therefore unlikely that new large storage dams will be built. This is not only due to the lack of suitable sites, but also because of their environmental impact.
Initially, melting glaciers are expected to increase our hydroelectric potential. In the medium term, this potential should begin to decline. The consequences beyond 2050 remain uncertain.
The water turbined by our hydroelectric plants comes, in part, from annual precipitation (rain, snow).
Alas, no. Pumped storage is not a source of energy, but a process for storing electricity that results in a loss of energy of around 17-30%.
European countries regularly produce surplus electricity when the demand for electricity is relatively low.
If the electricity from our nuclear power plants were replaced by renewable generation, our CO2 emissions would remain stable. On the other hand, if we replaced our nuclear power with electricity produced by gas-fired power plants in Switzerland or imported electricity, our emissions would increase significantly, but would probably be offset.
Since 2001, our nuclear waste has been stored in intermediate storage halls in Würenlingen (Argovia). A site for deep geological disposal is being identified in Switzerland.
Our nuclear waste comes mainly from the five nuclear reactors operating in Switzerland.
New types of nuclear fission reactors, known as “4th generation” reactors, have been under development for the past 20 years. If they deliver on their promises in terms of safety, efficiency and the ability to reduce radioactive waste, they could play a role by 2030-2050.
Switzerland’s degree of energy independence in 2018 was only 25%. In other words, we are 75% dependent on foreign countries for our primary energy supply.
Energy independence refers to a country’s ability to meet its energy needs without having to rely on foreign imports.
More than two-thirds of our final energy needs are now met by fossil fuels. All of this fossil energy comes from abroad. This means that Switzerland would be faced with very serious problems in the event of a supply disruption.
If it is impossible to obtain supplies from abroad, Switzerland could go on without importing hydrocarbons for between 2½ and 5 months, depending on the type of oil product. In the case of electricity, Switzerland could last only between one and three weeks in winter without importing electricity from abroad.
No, not necessarily. Switzerland’s energy independence should even improve with the phasing out of nuclear power, since we import all the enriched uranium rods used in our nuclear power plants. A significant proportion of our nuclear electricity production will be replaced by energy efficiency measures to reduce our consumption and by locally available renewable energies.