France- Energy Mix

1973 Energy Mix

  • 40% coal
  • 17% oil
  • 19% gas
  • 5% nuclear
  • 6% HEP
  • 13% other renewables

2005 Energy Mix

  • 5% coal
  • 32% oil
  • 15% gas
  • 42% nuclear
  • 2% HEP
  • 4% other renewables

France imports 99% of its oil, largely from Norway and OPEC.

Coal was previously mined in the North East of France but  the difficulty of extracting new coal and the expense of accessing it caused the closure of the remaining coal mines at the beginning of the 21st century. The oil crisis of 1973 drove the creation of 59 nuclear power stations.

The need to comply to greenhouse gas emission regulations has led to a resurgence in interest in nuclear power, largely in replacing, not removing, old plants. Nearly 60,000 people work in the nuclear power plants. Their expertise has allowed the French company EDF to work internationally.

HEP power is concentrated in the alps and along the river Rhone. The Rhone produces 25% of France’s HEP, which is 5% of the country’s generated electricity overall.

There are plans to import electricity from Northern Africa. For instance, Algeria, a former French colony, has operational solar plants already.

France was an early pioneer of tidal power and built a tidal system across the river Rance, but have built no further commercial tidal energy projects.

Most oil used in France is used in transport or heating. HEP is used to back up the nuclear power supply at peak times.

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