History

The Star of Laufenburg is a pioneering feat and a milestone in the history of the Swiss electricity industry. It was the first-ever interconnection point between the German, French and Swiss transmission systems. Swissgrid has been shaping Swiss electricity history since 2006. The product of Swiss electricity market liberalisation, Swissgrid was designated as the owner of the 6,700-kilometre transmission system by the Electricity Supply Act. Its successful takeover of the grid represents another key milestone on the road to liberalising the electricity market. Swissgrid will continue to face big challenges in the future. It is a key player in efforts to an energy transition. It is also working to develop grid expansion solutions in collaboration with the energy industry, business, policymakers and the population.

Milestones

2000: Establishment of ETRANS

Switzerland's grid companies establish ETRANS AG to coordinate the Swiss extra-high-voltage grid. ETRANS is the first independent coordinator of Switzerland's transmission system. It is an active player in the European power market and performs grid monitoring and grid usage tasks for all of Europe.

2006: Swissgrid launches its business operations

Swissgrid opens up for business as the national grid company. It is responsible for operations and for the Swiss extra-high-voltage grid.

2008: StromVG takes effect

The new Electricity Supply Act (StromVG) takes effect on 1 January 2008. Swissgrid, as an independent organisation, provides transparent, non-discriminatory access to the Swiss transmission system.

2009: Swissgrid begins operating the grid

Swissgrid starts operating and monitoring the Swiss transmission system (220/380 kV) on 1 January 2009. Major consumers are free to choose their energy suppliers for the first time.

2010: Swissgrid Control is modernised

Swissgrid Control, the grid control room in Laufenburg, is modernised. It is the nerve centre of the Swiss electricity supply system. This is where Swissgrid specialists monitor and control the Swiss electricity grid 24 hours a day.

Swissgrid sets up a new visitors' centre at Swissgrid Control in order to inform visitors about its business activities and upcoming challenges in the energy sector.

2010: Kick-off for GO!

The GO! (Grid Ownership) project kicks off the complex process of transferring ownership of the transmission system from its current owners to Swissgrid.

2010: Lowering ancillary service costs

Swissgrid has managed to lower ancillary service costs from CHF 351 million in early 2009 to CHF 122 million. Ancillary service providers now have better access to the ancillary service market. Competition improves as roughly 30% more providers enter the market.

2010: Swissgrid now represented in French-speaking Switzerland

Swissgrid opens an office in Lausanne in order to locally and more intensively manage its relationships with customers and other stakeholders. Lausanne will also be the centre for coordinating transmission system maintenance in Western Switzerland.

2013: Swissgrid owns the transmission grid

Swissgrid takes over the Swiss transmission system (220 /
380 kV) on 3 January 2013. As the grid owner, Swissgrid is responsible for operating, maintaining and expanding the transmission system.

2013: Regional bases

Swissgrid sets up six regional bases, spread out among all administrative and linguistic regions. This puts Swissgrid closer not only to its grid system but also to government agencies, partners and the public at large. The bases are located in the following regions: Frick (site), Laufenburg (site), Vevey (site), Eastern Switzerland (Uznach), Grisons (Landquart), Ticino (Castione), Berne (Ostermundigen) region.

2014: Swissgrid takes part in European power exchange EPEX Spot

The cooperation agreement between Swissgrid and EPEX Spot has laid the foundations for future implementation projects for the launch of market coupling at the Swiss borders. Market coupling means power supply and cross-border transport capacities will no longer be traded separately, but together. As a result, limited cross-border transport capacities will in future be managed more efficiently and better used.

2015: Swissgrid opens second control centre in Prilly near Lausanne

The new facility is part of the Swiss grid operator's new Regional Office Romandie (ROR). In the past, Swissgrid relied solely on the control centre in Laufenburg to coordinate power transmissions over Switzerland's extra-high-voltage grid. Soon, it will be able to perform these activities from either control centre or split up the work between them. By adding a second control centre, Swissgrid has improved the security of supply in Switzerland and underscored the importance of western Switzerland for the Swiss electricity system.

Outlook

2018: New site in Aarau

The Laufenburg and Frick sites will be merged into Swissgrid's new headquarters in Aarau. The merger will enable Swissgrid to improve workflows internally and streamline operations. In particular, it is keen to locate its grid operation, grid maintenance and grid expansion divisions under one roof.

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