«Run» on firewood. Heat pumps are trending: We are faced with an imminent shortage almost every day. An overview.
Is an energy crisis looming or do we already have one? The power supply is according to a updates of the national economic supply (BWL) in Switzerland is currently secured. Accordingly, the reservoirs for electricity production are normally filled. Practically all nuclear power plants were running at full capacity, according to the BWL. The gas flows into Switzerland are also normal. Nevertheless, companies, the economy and the federal government have been preparing for a possible emergency in the energy supply for months – a gas or electricity shortage.
When is there talk of a “shortage”?
Answer from the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (business administration): «In Switzerland we speak of a shortage when supply can no longer meet demand and the market and prices no longer have a regulating effect. It is an extreme situation […]. In this situation, the Federal Council orders intervention measures for the energy supply.»
What is Switzerland doing against the looming crisis? The Federal Council, together with other actors, is constantly strengthening the security of supply in Switzerland, as the Federal Office for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (UVEK) writes on its website. Various measures have already been taken to this end – an overview:
The establishment of a hydropower reserve should be implemented by early October. The gas industry has one Winter gas reserve furnished. It currently has 60 percent of that reserve. If the gas is still scarce, should solidarity agreement remedial action with neighboring countries. The first round of negotiations with Germany has taken place – France and Italy are following. It also became one Bailout for the electricity industry created. In addition, various preparations were made for a possible gas or electricity shortage.
By the end of August, a platform for a awareness campaign be set up to save electricity voluntarily. This will inform the population about advice on energy saving. Even if each and every one reduces the heating temperature by one degree, this saves six percent of energy per household, according to Bastian Schwark, head of the energy department of the national economic supply (WL).
According to Schwark, it is expected that the austerity appeals will reduce gas consumption in Switzerland by around five percent. As a report from the NZZ reveals, the budget for the campaign is around two million francs. The federal government spent 30 million on the anti-corona campaign.
What are other countries doing?
Germany: In order to save gas, a hard coal-fired power plant, which was last held in reserve, has been producing electricity again since the end of July. More are to follow. A government campaign aims to motivate people to save energy. For example, sporadically used areas such as corridors should no longer be heated. In addition, there should be a mandatory check for natural gas heating systems in residential buildings, for example to lower the temperature at night.
In Italy In the public offices, cooling is only allowed to a maximum of 25 degrees, and the temperature when heating is reduced from 20 to 19 degrees. It is also being considered to shorten the heating period by two weeks. No restrictions are initially planned for industry.
Finland has already halved its gas consumption over the past ten years, according to the government, and has further reduced it since the Russian invasion of Ukraine – according to the government there is no immediate need for further measures.
In Poland the national-conservative government does not see itself bound by the savings target of 15 percent. The voluntary nature of the regulation is emphasized.
In Hungary the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban categorically rules out the implementation of the goal.
What happens in the event of a power shortage? To explain: one A power shortage should not be confused with a “blackout” – i.e. a power failure. If there were a power shortage, the tasks would be clearly divided, as Michael Frank, Director of the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies (VSE), says: “The federal government decides that the electricity industry, business and the population will implement it.” Gradually stricter measures would come into force.
What’s next? As the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) informed the NZZ, the awareness-raising campaign will be presented to representatives of business, civil society and administration this week. In addition, the UVEK, in cooperation with the FONES, is examining how the development of gas storage capacities in Switzerland can be promoted and will inform the Federal Council by the end of August 2022.
Finally, the Federal Department of Economics, Education and Research (EAER) is currently revising the concept for the quotas together with industry and will present this to the Federal Council at the end of August 2022.