Thanks to its large share of hydropower and nuclear energy, France has achieved an absolute decoupling of its greenhouse gas emissions from GDP growth since 2005, as emissions have either held steady or reduced as the economy has grown. Nuclear energy makes up about 70 per cent of the country’s power generation, while hydropower represents about 10 per cent.
The country is the third largest European producer of hydroelectricity behind only Norway and Turkey. Despite recent rapid growth in solar and wind supply, hydropower continues to make up over half of renewable energy supply.
In France, hydropower generation facilities greater than 4.5 MW in capacity are operated under concessions awarded by the French state, which allows companies to operate facilities for a set period of time. Among these plants, more than 80 per cent are operated by EDF and 15 per cent by Engie.
The 2015 Energy Transition for Green Growth Act (LTECV) set ambitious goals for France’s energy transition, targeting 40 per cent of electricity generation to be sourced from renewables by 2030, up from 18.4 per cent in 2018. The ETL mandates a Multiannual Energy Programme (PPE) to assign compulsory installed capacity targets for each generation technology.
In 2018, the first revision to the PPE announced objectives for energy storage projects with the following: the closure of all coal plants by 2022; tripling wind generating capacity; increasing solar capacity fivefold by 2030; and decommissioning France’s nuclear assets to reduce nuclear generation by 50 per cent by 2035. The PPE targeted an increase of hydropower installed capacity by roughly 500 MW to 26.05 GW by 2023.
Read the country profile featured in the 2019 Hydropower Status Report. Download the report: hydropower.org/statusreport