More and more energy in Switzerland comes from renewable sources

A comparative study of Swiss energy suppliers shows that the majority of them already supply their customers with between 80% and 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources - and the trend is rising.

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has conducted a new comparative study (benchmarking) among Swiss energy supply companies (EVU) for the years 2021 and 2022. The benchmarking shows how the activities of the EVU develop in the areas of expanding renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency. Participation in the study was voluntary: a total of 126 companies took part. Of these, 98 companies are from German-speaking Switzerland, 19 from French-speaking Switzerland and 9 from Ticino. Together, they cover 55% of Swiss electricity sales and 65% of gas sales. More than half of the energy supply companies are smaller ones that sell less than 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity, heat and/or gas per year. About one third are medium-sized (100 to 1000 GWh/year), and the remaining 9% are large with sales of more than 1000 GWh per year.

Utility companies forge ahead with renewable energies

75 of the 110 participating companies already supply their customers with 80% and 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. In the heating sector, the expansion of district heating with renewable sources is booming. Only in the case of gas is the pace of change slower. Currently, the standard product for households contains a maximum of 20% renewable gases at 39 of the 51 participating gas providers, and this share is 0% at 13 of them.

There is still much room for improvement

Even today, improving energy efficiency among customers still plays a subordinate role in the strategy of the energy providers. For example, just 25 of the 110 electricity suppliers have a genuine efficiency strategy.

Among the electricity suppliers, only seven companies already achieve 80% of the targets set in the benchmarking. On average, 51% of the targets are met. Accordingly, there is still much room for improvement. The benchmarking would like to stimulate and motivate activities here and promote the exchange between the electricity suppliers.

Large companies are more advanced in energy transition and strategy

In the heating sector, the average is 65%; two companies are already achieving over 90% of the targets. Here, too, the large companies are already further advanced in the energy transition and their strategy. Of the approximately 110 gas suppliers in Switzerland, 51 participated in the EVU benchmarking. 27 of the participating companies achieve 50% of the targets and more.

Providers are active in different areas

Even if the achievement of objectives is still low at many energy supply companies, the benchmarking shows, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), that innovative approaches are available in practically all fields of action. Many of these projects could also be implemented by smaller and medium-sized companies. In the case of electricity, for example, there are electric charging stations with renewable electricity and car-sharing services with electric cars. In the area of heat, there are energy supply companies that have developed energy concepts or whose projects go beyond pure heat production and combine it with building automation, for example. In the gas sector, there are several providers that have implemented power-to-gas projects. The topic of "intelligent grids" is also becoming increasingly important; many energy supply companies have implemented measures to control and optimize the grid load, summarizes the SFOE.

What is benchmarking about?

The benchmarking assesses the activities of the EVU for the expansion of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The 2021/22 benchmarking study covers eight fields of action: Corporate strategy, smart grids and energy systems, role model effect, production of renewable energy, water protection, supply from renewable energies, energy services, support programs and tariff measures.