by Chris Pleasance, Daily Mail:
- Swiss have drawn up emergency plans to deal with energy shortages this winter
- In emergency situation, electric vehicles will be banned for all-but essential trips
- ‘Crisis’ restrictions could see all sports stadiums and leisure businesses closed
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Switzerland will ban the use of electric cars for ‘non-essential’ journeys if the country runs out of energy this winter, the government has announced.
Emergency plans drawn up in the event the Swiss are hit by blackouts also call for shop opening hours to be reduced by up to two hours per day, heating systems in nightclubs to be turned off, and other buildings to be heated to no more than 20C.
Crisis measures could see streaming services and games consoles banned, Christmas lights turned off, and all sports stadiums and leisure facilities closed.
Switzerland will ban electric cars from the roads this winter if the country start suffering blackouts in order to conserve energy (file image)
Switzerland fears an energy shortage in the coming months because it is highly dependent on imports to get it through winter.
The country gets around 60 per cent of its energy from hydroelectric power stations, such as dams across rivers or generators placed between lakes.
Around a third of its power comes from nuclear, which the government has committed to phasing out, and the remaining comes from a mixture of traditional fossil fuel plants and solar or wind generation.
Overall, Switzerland produces enough electricity each year to keep the lights on – but that statistic masks huge discrepancies month-to-month.
Because hydropower relies on rainfall and snow melt to top up rivers and reservoirs, it naturally increases during spring and summer but falls off in autumn and winter.
That means the Swiss export large amounts of power to neighbouring nations during the warmer, wetter months and import through the colder months.
In turn, that means energy shortages in Europe caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine will impact the country even though it burns almost no Russian gas.
Germany is Switzerland’s largest energy exporter and was hugely reliant on Russian supplies. France is second, and is currently suffering issues with its nuclear reactors.
Switzerland is also generating less energy than usual from its hydro plants because the exceptionally dry summer in Europe caused lakes and rivers to run low.