Generating technologies


  • Fossil-fired thermal (breakdown in MW)

    Fossil-fired thermal plants can be found throughout the French regions. Most capacity is in the Hauts-de-France, Pays de la Loire, Grand Est and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, which together are home to around 60% of total fossil-fired thermal capacity. Because they require water for system cooling, these plants are located near water points (e.g. Cordemais on the Loire River).



    Coverage of demand (%) by fossil-fired thermal

    Fossil-fired thermal generation covers more than 40% of demand in Corsica and more than 20% in the Grand Est and Hauts-de-France regions.



    SEI data can be found in: Electricity Report for SEI, Corsica and Overseas Territories

  • Nuclear power (breakdown in MW)

    Most of the nuclear reactors in France are in the Normandy, Grand Est, Centre-Val de Loire and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions, which are together home to 77% of the nuclear plants in service. Because of their cooling requirements, the plants are located near water points: along the coast (e.g. Paluel and Flamanville, on the English Channel) or waterways (e.g. Tricastin and Cruas on the Rhône). Nuclear generation was unchanged in 2019 (63.1 GW).



    Coverage of demand (%) by nuclear power

    Nuclear generation covers demand in the Centre-Val de Loire nearly four times.



    See additional SEI data in: Electricity Report for SEI, Corsica and Overseas Territories

  • Hydropower (breakdown in MW)

    With 25.5 GW of installed capacity, hydropower generation in France is divided unevenly across the country.

    Regions with large mountainous areas (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) are home to more than 79% of total French hydropower capacity. Most of the facilities are hydroelectric dams, notably with water reservoirs and poundage. Hydropower generation capacity in other regions is less significant and often relies on run-of-river plants or those with poundage.



    Coverage of demand (%) by hydropower

    Coverage of demand by hydropower generation is highest in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, where it exceeds 40%.



    Impact of rainfall on hydropower output

    Annual fluctuations in hydropower generation are closely correlated to precipitation. As France saw significantly less rainfall in 2019 than in 2018, hydropower generation declined across all regions except Grand Est.

    SEI data can be found in: Electricity Report for SEI, Corsica and Overseas Territories

  • Wind power (breakdown in MW)

    Climate conditions (wind regimes), environmental constraints and local political priorities explain the differences between wind power development rates. The two regions that have the most wind capacity installed are Hauts-de-France (4.5 GW) and Grand Est (3.6 GW).  Capacity increased by more than 10% in these regions between 2018 and 2019.



    Coverage of demand (%) by wind power

    Coverage of demand by wind power reached 7.5% in the French regions and exceeded 14% in the Hauts-de-France, Grand Est and Centre-Val de Loire regions.



    Regional density of wind capacity

    Density is a calculation of wind capacity per square kilometre in each region. The Hauts-de-France region has the most installed capacity and the highest density. Occitanie ranks third in terms of capacity but seventh in terms of density, below the national average of 22.4 kW per square kilometre.



    See additional SEI data in: Electricity Report for SEI, Corsica and Overseas Territories

  • Solar power (breakdown in MW)

    Four regions have more than 1 GW of installed solar capacity: Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. These regions account for more than 73% of installed solar capacity in France, due to their geographic location in the southernmost part of the country, where conditions are favourable for solar power development. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region saw the sharpest increase in capacity during the year (more than 19%).



    Coverage of demand (%) by solar power

    Coverage of demand by solar power exceeded 5% in Corsica, Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine.



    Regional density of solar capacity

    Density is a calculation of installed solar capacity per square kilometre in each region. Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur has the highest density, but ranks third nationally in terms of capacity. Conversely, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region ranks fourth in terms of capacity but its density is below the national average of 15.3 kW per square kilometre.



    See additional SEI data in: Electricity Report for SEI, Corsica and Overseas Territories

  • Bioenergy (breakdown by MW)

    Bioenergy plants are found throughout France. The Ile-de-France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur regions are each home to more than 14% of the country’s total bioenergy capacity.



    Coverage of demand (%) by bioenergy

    Coverage of demand in the French regions by bioenergy generation is highest in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, where it exceeds 3%.



    See additional SEI data in: Electricity Report for SEI, Corsica and Overseas Territories

Closer look

Better understanding