GENEVA - Switzerland plans to call for bids later this year to build new power plants that it expects will be connected to its energy grid in 2025 or 2026, Energy Minister Albert Rosti said, as the country tries to boost its energy reserves to prevent shortages.

"We need more electricity in Switzerland, otherwise we'll hit a wall," Rosti said in an interview with Aargauer Zeitung published on Saturday.

Rosti said the government would calls for bids to build new power plants in mid-2023.

"The new power plants should be connected to the grid in 2025 or 2026 if possible," he said, adding that these would be required to run on both fossil fuel and renewable energy sources.

In August last year the Swiss government launched a voluntary campaign to urge consumers and businesses to conserve energy to prevent shortages of gas and power.

Rosti said measures to save electricity and gas "continue to make sense" and said the government would issue a tender later this year to increase the country's power reserve capacities.

"It is also conceivable that we will increase the hydropower reserve," he added.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Geneva and Elke Ahlswede in Münster, Germany;)