Switzerland in the dark

Switzerland has one of the most reliable power grids in the world. However, there is no security of electricity supply and brief, widespread blackouts are possible, albeit rare. But the challenges in grid operation are growing. Power stations which exercise a stabilising function on the grid are used less frequently, because they can no longer be operated profitably under current market conditions. The wildly fluctuating power feed-in from renewable energies (sun, wind) into the entire European power grid occasionally leads to unforeseeable power flows, which can affect grid stability. Furthermore the liberalisation of the electricity market in Europe has led to an increase in electricity trading. Short-term trading activities and the associated transport of electricity over long distances represent an additional challenge for the grid.

Swissgrid takes all the precautions within its power to prevent widespread power failures, or to minimise damage in case they should occur. The Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) in cooperation with Swissgrid has produced the short film «Switzerland in the Dark», which deals with the possible consequences of a lengthy power failure.

(German version)

At the beginning of January 2017, Swiss TV broadcast a live transmission lasting several hours under the title «Blackout», taking up the consequences of a nationwide power failure lasting several days. The effects which an event of this nature would have on Switzerland and its inhabitants were depicted from various perspectives in the form of a fictional documentary. In addition to the causes and effects, the issues of security and safety were also covered in detail. As the national grid company, Swissgrid had an expert representative on the programme.

The entire fictional documentary and all associated relevant information on the topic of «Blackout» can be found in the online dossier of SRF by clicking on the adjacent link.