Feature Reports

Energy in France

Photo of photovoltaic panels in front of the cooling towers of the Tricastin nuclear power plant in Provence.
France wants to reduce the proportion of nuclear in its power generation mix. The photo shows the Bollène solar park in Provence, with the cooling towers of the Tricastin nuclear power plant in the background. ©ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

As in many other countries worldwide, France has embarked on an energy transition aimed at curbing its greenhouse gas emissions, increasing its energy independence and diversifying its supplies.    These various objectives have prompted it to reduce its nuclear capacity, develop renewable energies and improve its energy efficiency. As is always the case in the energy sector, developments are slow and require long-term efforts.    

Les grands équilibres énergétiques de la France

France’s energy landscape has been shifting constantly for decades. Dominated initially by coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from... and then by oil, it underwent a profound transformation in the 1970s with the large-scale development of nuclear energyEnergy produced in nuclear power plants. The enormous amount of heat released during fission of uranium atom nuclei is transferred to water..., and again in the 1990s with the increasing use of natural gas. Today, it is experiencing a fresh transition with the development of renewable energies and the implementation of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (ghg) Gas with physical properties that cause the Earth's atmosphere to warm up. There are a number of naturally occurring greenhouse gases... (GHG) emissions.

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Les émissions de gaz à effet de serre en France

France is one of the European Union’s best performers in terms of greenhouse gas (ghg) Gas with physical properties that cause the Earth's atmosphere to warm up. There are a number of naturally occurring greenhouse gases... (GHG) emissions. This is attributable chiefly to the establishment more than 40 years ago of its extensive nuclear capacity, which ensures electricityForm of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles (electrons) through a conductor... can be generated with low carbon emissions (CO2See Carbon Dioxid). Europe itself is a global region where emissions have fallen sharply since 1990, but with an increase in 2017.

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