Electricity consumption up 4.3% in 2021

Bern, 14.04.2022 - In 2021 electricity consumption in Switzerland was 58.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), a rise of 4.3% over the previous year. Domestic production (after deduction of electricity consumed by storage pumps) was 60.1 billion kWh. The physical electricity import surplus was 2.4 billion kWh.

Domestic consumption in 2021 lay at 62.5 billion kWh. After deduction of losses occurring in transmission and distribution of 4.4 billion kWh, the actual electricity consumption amounted to 58.1 billion kWh, which is 4.3% or 2.4 million kWh more than in 2020 (55.7 billion kWh) (approximately corresponding to the annual consumption of 479,800 households). Year-on-year changes were +3.2% in the first quarter, +9.0% in the second (Switzerland was largely in lockdown in the second quarter of 2020 because of the COVID 19 pandemic), +2.1% in the third and +3.4% in the fourth quarter.

In addition to the pandemic-related 'compensatory effects' in the second quarter, general economic development, the weather and population development increased consumption in 2021. However, efficiency improvements counteracted this increase.

  • Development of the economy: Switzerland's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 3.7% in 2021 (source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO).
  • Population development: According to the provisional statistics issued by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) on 5 April 2022, the population of Switzerland increased by 0.8% in 2021.
  • Weather: In 2021, the number of heating degree days was 15.3% over the previous year (see table in appendix). Since about 10% of the electricity consumed in Switzerland is used for heating, this led to a slight increase in consumption.

The annual retrospective analyses of electricity consumption (to be published in October 2022) will provide further information about the main factors influencing electricity consumption.

Domestic electricity production in 2021

Electricity production (domestic generation) decreased by 8.2% to 64.2 billion kWh in 2021 (2020: 69.9 billion kWh). After deduction of 4.1 billion kWh used by storage pumps, net electricity generated amounted to 60.1 billion kWh. The country's production was below the corresponding value of the previous year in each quarter (-3.2%, -6.6%; -4.5%, -18.6%).

Hydropower plants (fluvial and storage power plants) generated 2.7% less electricity than in the previous year (fluvial power plants, -3.9%; storage power plants -1.9%). In the summer, production at hydropower plants rose by 2.5% compared to the previous year (fluvial power plants +3.8%, storage power plants +1.3%); however, in the two winter quarters production increased by 9.2% (fluvial power
-16.%, storage power plants -5.0%).

Electricity production at the four Swiss nuclear power plants fell by 19.4% to 18.5 billion kWh (2020: 23.0 billion kWh), primarily owing to maintenance at Leibstadt, which was carried out over several months. In 2021 the availability rate of Switzerland's nuclear power plants was 71.9% (2020: 88.0%).

Hydropower plants contributed 61.5% to overall electricity production (fluvial power plants 26.4%, storage power plants 35.1%) while nuclear power plants supplied 28.9% and conventional thermal plants and renewable energy plants generated 9.6%.

Import surplus in 2021

With physical electricity imports of 31.5 billion kWh and exports of 29.1 billion kWh, the balance for 2021 was an import surplus of 2.4 billion kWh (2020: export surplus of 5.6 billion kWh). In the first and fourth quarters (winter quarters) Switzerland imported 5.7 billion kWh net (2020: 0.8 billion kWh); in the second and third quarters it exported 3.3 billion kWh net (2020: 6.3 billion kWh).

Revenue from trade-based electricity exports amounted to CHF 3,562 million (10.88 Rp./kWh ), according to data from the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS). Expenditure of 3,820 million francs (10.80 cents/kWh) was incurred for trade-based electricity imports. In 2021 (as in 2016 and 2017) Switzerland thus had a negative foreign trade balance of CHF 258 million (2020: positive foreign trade balance of CHF 293 million) [Source: FOCBS / swissimpex; As at: 1.4.2022].

Address for enquiries

Media service SFOE, Tel. 058 460 81 52


Swiss Federal Office of Energy