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After the record level of 911,440 terajoules (TJ) seen in 2010, Switzerland's final energy consumption sank by 6.5% to 852,330 TJ in 2011. The last time a similarly low final energy consumption was recorded was in 2002 (851,180 TJ).
This fall in energy consumption was mainly due to the exceptionally warm weather in 2011. According to Meteo Schweiz, the national meteorology service, 2011 was the warmest year on record since measurement began in 1864. Heating degree days, an important indicator for the amount of energy used for heating, decreased by 18.1% compared to 2010. The strong influence of the weather overrode other factors that could have led to an increase in energy consumption in 2011 because of the growth seen: population (+1%), gross domestic product (+1.9%), increase in the number of homes (increase was seen, but detailed statistics are not available as yet), and the overall total of motor vehicles (+2.2%).
Consumption of combustibles fell strongly with use of extra-light heating oil declining by 20.4% and that of gas by 10.2%. Overall fuel consumption increased (+1.1%), with sales of diesel (+2.6%) and above all aviation fuel (+9.6%) increasing significantly, while petrol consumption continued the downward pattern of the last ten years (-3.9%). The trend of substituting petrol with diesel as vehicle fuel continued unabated. Significant declines were seen in consumption of heavy heating oil (-34.1%) and petroleum coke (-14.6%). Consumption of electricity fell by 2.0% (see SFOE press release of April 19, 2012).
The warm weather in 2011 also affected the consumption of renewable energies used for heating. Consumption of wood for heating fell by 11.4%. A decline was also seen of 4.0% in the use of ambient heat with heat pumps although the number of heat pumps installed rose by 9%. Use of district heating fell by 8.0%. In spite of the warmer weather, use of solar heat and biogas both increased, by 11.4% and 3.7% respectively. Consumption of biofuels also rose (+7.1%). Overall the consumption of energy from other renewable sources fell by 0.9%. After the decrease seen in 1997 (-1.1%), this was only the second time a fall has been noted in the category of other renewable sources of energy since data began to be acquired in 1990. Use of industrial waste to generate energy remained practically the same as in 2010 (+0.5%). Consumption of coal was 6.7% below the level for 2010.
Switzerland's overall energy statistics for 2011 are available on Internet in the second half of July and in print from the beginning of August 2012. An initial summary of the statistics is available immediately (see attachment).