Switzerland Needs an EU Electricity Agreement, Says Swissgrid Director

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Contradicting Swiss Energy Minister Albert Rösti, the director of the Swiss electricity management group (Swissgrid) has reaffirmed the absolute necessity of an electricity agreement with the European Union (EU).

“There is currently a decoupling of Switzerland from the European electricity market,” Swissgrid director,  Yves Zumwald, said in an interview published on Friday by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).

“This not only jeopardises the stability of the grid but also makes it difficult to integrate Swiss power stations into Europe,” he added. “Without participation in the European electricity grid, stress on the grid will increase, making it more difficult to operate safely.”

On Saturday, Rösti told NZZ that Switzerland did not need an electricity agreement “at any price”. “It’s a political statement”, said Swissgrid director, pointing to a power game between Bern and Brussels.

Switzerland linked to Europe

“This does not change our firm belief that electricity relations between Switzerland and the EU must be normalised,” adds Zumwald. “We are linked to Europe by 41 cross-border lines, and we operate the grid with our European partners. It is therefore a very bad idea to exclude Swissgrid from the platforms and bodies that help maintain the stability of the electricity grid”.

According to Swissgrid, it is possible to conclude contracts with some foreign grid operators, for example with Italy, “but in the north, with France, Germany and other EU countries, we have been negotiating for three years with no solution in sight”.

What’s more, he continues, “such technical contracts only guarantee that we can work with the grid operators in these countries […] This is an absolutely minimal solution”.

Zumwald says that it is an illusion to expect Switzerland to be self-sufficient in electricity production. “The more independent we are from the EU, the more expensive it gets”.

Source : SWI