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Switzerland Member Committee

Schweizerischer Energierat

Conseil Suisse de l'énergie

The Swiss Energy Council is a founding member of the World Energy Council, the network of energy leaders for a sustainable energy future. It is a non-governmental organisation that brings together all actors in the energy world including energy consumers’ representation bodies, members of academia, government and industry. All of the Council’s activities are dedicated to the promotion of an internationally based, affordable and reliable supply of energy for Switzerland.

Kurt Rohrbach was born in Biel in 1955, Swiss citizen.

He studied engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (grad. Electricity Engineer ETH). He has occupied various positions within BKW FMB Energy Ltd. since joining in 1980.

In 1992 he was appointed Head of the Energy Division and member of the Executive Board. He was CEO of the company from 2001 till December 2012. From May 2012 till May 2016 he was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. From 1999 to 2009 he was a member of the Federal Commission for Energy Research. Since 2008 he has been chairing the Swiss Electricity Industry Association (SEIA). Its members stand for over 95% of the Swiss electricity supply. Kurt Rohrbach is a member of the board of various companies in the power supply sector and also a member of the board of economiesuisse, the Swiss Business Federation. Since 2015 he has chaired Canton Berne`s Chamber of Commerce with 3`500 members.

Ben Teufel leads the energy sector activities in TAS of Ernst & Young in Switzerland. He is a professional banker of Deutsche Bank and studied Management & Economics at the universities in Frankfurt, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland. He has multiple years of experience in management consulting for European energy companies as well as operational experience in the field of electric mobility. A selection of his skills include: Financial due diligences and valuations for transactions in the Swiss energy sector, Energy trading, Strategy development and Electric mobility.

Energy in Switzerland

switzerland, critical uncertainties, action priorities

Comparing 2019 and 2020 results, the concerns of Switzerland energy leaders are still impacted by interactions with the European energy market as well as digitalisation issues. In the Action Priorities section, Hydro and Energy Efficiency emerge with higher impact, while the overall green transition agenda is perceived with greater confidence.

EU Cohesion leads the Critical Uncertainties section, reflecting perceptions on Switzerland’s participation in the European single energy market. At present, Switzerland is excluded from EU legislation on power grids and network codes. A much-needed electricity agreement with the EU cannot be negotiated at the current stage as it depends on concluding a comprehensive accord between Switzerland and the EU on the framework for their interactions.

IoT/Blockchain is seen with greater impact. Emerging Swiss start-ups are driving changes in this space as they develop blockchain solutions for greater energy efficiency, building on the momentum created with the National Energy Strategy 2050 around greater sustainability of the national energy system. Solutions include blockchain-enabled electricity meters and transactional power grids aimed at reducing network and grid operation costs.

Cyber Threats continue to be signalled as a critical uncertainty despite the robustness of Switzerland’s power supply and energy infrastructure. Sources of uncertainty include the possible risks of 5G network integration as the country is one of the technology’s early adopters. In addition, the interconnectivity of Swiss and EU power systems also extends potential sources of concern beyond the national jurisdiction.

Energy Subsidies fall slightly in the uncertainty section. Subsidies are a key instrument included in the National Energy Strategy 2050 built around three central pillars: phasing out the use of nuclear energy, promoting renewable energies and boosting energy efficiency.

Hydro is seen with higher impact as the role of this energy source is bound to increase beyond the current 60% share in total domestic electricity supply. The country has an indicative target of 37.4TWh hydropower production per year by 2035. This increase supports Switzerland’s gradual moves to completely phase out nuclear generation. Recent developments include the upscaling of existing storage infrastructure and the construction of two large pumped storage facilities.

Energy Efficiency: according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, more than 40% of energy consumption and about a third of CO2 emissions are attributable to the building industry. Improving efficiency in buildings is therefore seen as a priority to achieve enhanced energy efficiency, security and sustainability at the country level. Government initiatives to reduce energy consumption in the buildings sector include the Building Programme, tax incentives for building renovation and competitive tenders.

Although some use cases for the action priorities are visible and implemented in Switzerland, the business case behind them still needs to be demonstrated. Crucial for their profitability will be a wide availability of smart devices, an efficient and cost competitive service offering and a large number of clients that will have to see a benefit in it. As for the critical uncertainties, unclear situations in the market design and with the integration into the European market will most likely lead to a postponement of necessary investment decisions.

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