Production of hydropower
Hydropower is generally considered an environmentally friendly, carbon neutral energy source which does not have the risks associated with nuclear power. Nevertheless it does also have a negative impact: It reduces water volumes in the watercourses and can cause discharges to fluctuate massively and adversely affect fish migration. The expected average annual production shows the development and expansion of hydropower.
The expected average annual production has risen continuously over the last ten years. This is a consequence of the fact that hydropower has increasingly been promoted to help secure energy supplies and that the conditions on the European electricity market have become more attractive. This development is likely to be boosted by the decision to phase out nuclear power (energy strategy 2050). In terms of energy and climate policy this development is welcome, but even more intensive use will then be made of surface waters. In order to keep the resultant negative impact as low as possible, the Federal Government has published recommendations for the drafting of cantonal strategies for protection and use in relation to small hydropower plants.
The percentage of hydropower generated in Switzerland to cover domestic electricity supplies is very high compared with the rest of Europe.
For existing plants, the expected average production at the power station generator (without recirculation operation) corresponds to the long-term average power generation possible in normal operation (current state of the hydropower plant). For new and upgraded installations, the expected average production is derived from a theoretical calculation which is based on hydrological data for an average year and the design and planned mode of operation of the hydropower plant. The expected average production does not take into account the average energy requirement of the pumps or replacement supplies.