GENEVA — The Swiss government said on Tuesday it had agreed to provide an urgent 4 billion Swiss franc ($4.1 billion) line of credit to power station operator Axpo Holding as energy prices are skyrocketing in Europe and could “endanger Switzerland’s energy supply”.
Axpo, which has 30 sites in Europe, North America and Asia and partners to operate more than 100 power plants, said it applied for funds to help meet guarantee requirements for long-term supply contracts after a tenfold increase in one-year wholesale electricity prices. there are and wild price fluctuations in recent days.
The company, based in Baden, northwest of Zurich, said the “continuing unpredictability” of the market has already prompted governments in countries including the Czech Republic, Finland, France and Germany to help businesses energy. It comes as Russia has reduced or cut off natural gas to several European countries amid the war in Ukraine, driving gas and electricity prices to record rates.
Switzerland’s executive branch, known as the Federal Council, said European markets had seen sharp increases in energy prices due to the war in Ukraine and the “low availability” of power from power stations nuclear weapons from neighboring France.
“With this financial aid, the Federal Council wants to prevent Axpo from experiencing liquidity problems which could, in the worst case, endanger Switzerland’s energy supply,” the Council said in a statement.
The seven-member executive said it was acting under an emergency law aimed at helping electricity providers. Last week, two of its members appealed to their fellow Swiss – who in 2021 got more than 60% of their electricity from hydroelectricity – to help them avoid wasting energy, such as for cooking or heating. .
Swiss authorities have repeatedly stated that the country’s energy supply is sufficient for current and future needs despite recent market pressures.