Switzerland should expect, at worst, temporary blackouts in some areas this winter, according to chief electricity watchdog Werner Luggenbull. Actions are therefore necessary, the Federal Electricity Commission (ElCom) Chairman warned in NZZ on Sunday. He accuses political circles of not “taking seriously” ElCom’s warnings.
Werner Luginbühl warns in the pages of a German-speaking newspaper that it is advisable to “have enough candles and wood for those who have a stove”. But he gets angry. The situation will remain “manageable”.
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For Werner Luginbühl, this scenario would be less likely if energy was used more wisely. Electricity is currently used in a “completely reckless way”. “If we realize more that it’s not self-evident, we can do a lot more,” he commented.
Warnings ‘not taken seriously’
ElCom’s warnings for years have not been taken seriously by political circles, in the eyes of Werner Luggenbull. However, the war in Ukraine aggravated the situation far beyond what the commission had anticipated. “The situation in recent months has shown that we need to approach the issue of supply security in a more assertive and determined manner,” he said.
There is a risk that Europe will find itself in a situation of widespread electricity and gas shortages, which could also mean that France – usually the main supplier – will disappear as a source of electricity in the winter.
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Werner Luggenbull added that depending on the situation, Germany and Italy would likely play the role of suppliers. Swiss dams’ new emergency reserves can only meet the biggest shortage problems for two to six weeks.
Wasted ‘massive amounts of energy’
Time is also on alert by unions denouncing the lack of efforts on the part of the union to save energy. “We waste massive amounts of energy,” Pro Natura’s Stella Geiger told Sunday Show. “At the level of daily consumption alone, industry, crafts and households can save about a third of electricity without even realizing it,” she added.
Saving in consumption is one of Bern’s blind spots, and energy efficiency is another. “The greatest potential lies in homes,” said Gallus Kadonau, director of the Swiss Solar Energy Agency: “Modern positive energy buildings reduce the energy produced by 15 nuclear power plants per year,” he commented.
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