How energy independent is Switzerland?
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. It is also referred to as energy self-sufficiency, or autarky. A country in a situation of complete energy independence is supplied exclusively with the primary energy sources available within its borders: oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear fuel, and renewable energy sources. It also has the capacity to exploit them and convert them into final energy (petrol, diesel, electricity, etc.), which is made available to the consumer. No country enjoys such a situation of complete self-sufficiency.
Today, Switzerland imports most of the energy resources it consumes: petroleum products (crude oil, petrol, diesel, kerosene, fuel oil), natural gas, coal (in very small quantities), and nuclear fuel. We also import increasing amounts of electricity, and biomass, mainly in the form of wood pellets and liquid biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel).
On an annual basis, a small proportion of Switzerland's energy needs are met from indigenous resources: hydropower (12.3%), incineration of household and industrial waste (5.4%) and wood (3.7%). Other renewable sources (biogas, solar, wind, environmental heat) currently make only a marginal contribution of about 3% to our national energy supply [→ Q47].
Energy dependence on foreign countries presents a level of risk that varies greatly depending on the country concerned. For example, sourcing Polish wood or Norwegian natural gas, to name just two, poses a limited risk from both a macro-economic and a geopolitical perspective, unlike energy sources imported from less stable areas or countries with authoritarian regimes [→ Q21].
- Office fédéral de l'énergie (OFEN) (2019)
- Office fédéral de l'énergie (OFEN) (2019). Statistique globale de l’énergie 2018. OFEN.