Wherever electricity is produced, transported and consumed, electric and magnetic fields are an unavoidable secondary product. The higher the current and voltage, and the shorter the distance from electricity transmission installations, the stronger these fields become. In the area of electricity supply, the strongest fields are in the immediate vicinity of transformer stations and high-voltage transmission lines. The strength of the magnetic field in the vicinity of a high-voltage transmission line is proportional to the transmitted electricity, i.e. the greater the quantity of transmitted electricity, the stronger the magnetic field.
As a result of the more intensive trade on the liberalised electricity markets, the quantity of transmitted electricity is increasing at a faster pace than that of electricity consumption. While the volume of transmitted electricity has increased by a factor of 4.4 during the past fifty years, electricity consumption has only increased by a factor of 3.6. The resulting increase in the load of the existing electricity networks equates to an increase in electrosmog in the vicinity of electricity-carrying installations. Detailed surveys on the impact of this development on local populations have not been carried out, however. For this reason state and trend cannot be evaluated.
A comparison of absolute numbers does not make sense in view of the differences in size and population of the various countries.
The electricity transmission comprises domestically generated electricity (including the one of pump storage power plants) and imported electricity (importation, since 1990 physical importation). The data are obtained from the annual Swiss electricity statistics published by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE.