The backbone of European electricity supply
The expansion of the switching substation in Laufenburg at that time is seen as a milestone in the history of electricity. The «Star of Laufenburg» provides an unprecedented level of grid stability and security of supply for Switzerland and the whole of Central Europe. The cross-border electricity market is created at a stroke.
This creates the basis for international interconnected grid operations. The coordination of electricity flows in Europe becomes necessary after the Second World War. There is an explosive growth in electricity consumption, and the energy has to be transported securely and safely over shorter distances to the consumer.
Today, the European interconnected grid guarantees a secure supply of electricity for over 30 countries and over 530 million consumers. The exchange of electricity enables power shortages in individual countries to be overcome and overloading to be avoided. Thanks to this international cooperation, it is also possible to compensate for power plant failures or overproduction. This benefits grid security and, ultimately, every single consumer.
The interconnected grid is geared to the topography and the energy availability in the individual regions. This includes, for example, wind energy from the North Sea, Spain and Portugal, as well as solar energy from Southern Europe and North Africa. The Swiss electricity grid, a key element of the European interconnected grid, links the north of Europe with the south across the Alps. At the same time, the Alps act as an important energy storage facility for the whole of Europe, with large quantities of energy being stored in Switzerland’s reservoirs and drawn upon when needed.