Electricity generation down, decarbonised production up thanks to coal’s decline


Total power generation in France reached 537.7 TWh in 2019, which was 2% (11 TWh) lower than in 2018. Renewable energy sources accounted for more than 21% of total electricity production, despite a more than 12% year-on-year decline in hydropower generation.  Wind power output increased sharply from 2018 (+21.2%), as did solar power generation, which rose 7.8%.

Because hydropower generation and nuclear generation were lower, fossil-fired thermal generation increased (+9.8%) even as production at coal plants plummeted.

The rise in generation at oil-fired plants, which was significant this year on the distribution grid, was mainly attributable to a sharp drop in hydropower generation in Corsica. In fact, output at the oil-fired plants in Corsica doubled year-on-year, to 1 TWh from 0.5 TWh in 2018.

Energy produced TWh 2019/2018 Share of generation
Net generation 537,7 -2% 100%
Nuclear 379,5 -3,5% 70,6%
Fossil-fired thermal 42,6 +9,8% 7,9%
of which coal 1,6 -71,9% 0,3%
of which oil 2,3 +26,5% 0,4%
of which gas 38,6 +23,8% 7,2%
Hydropower 60,0 -12,1% 11,2%
of which renewable* 55,5 -12% 10,3%
Wind 34,1 +21,2% 6,3%
Solar 11,6 +7,8% 2,2%
Bioenergy 9,9 +3,6% 1,8%
of which biogas 2,6 +8,5% 0,5%
of which biomass 2,7 -0,8% 0,5%
of which paper waste 0,2 -9,3% 0,0%
of which non-renewable municipal waste 2,2 +4,8% 0,4%
of which renewable municipal waste 2,2 +4,8% 0,4%

* Renewable hydropower includes hydropower from all sources except pumped storage stations (“STEP” in French)

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Installed capacity: Renewable energy sources continued to gain ground


Generation capacity in mainland France ended the year at 135.3 GW, up 2.3 GW (+1.7%) from the end of 2018. Wind and solar power accounted for the lion’s share of this increase, in keeping with the objectives of the Multiannual Energy Programme.

Installed capacity at 31/12/2019 Capacity in MW Change relative to 31/12/2018 Change in MW Share of capacity
Nuclear 63 130 0% 0 46,6%
Fossil-fired thermal 18 589 -0,3% -51,8 13,7%
of which coal 2 997 0% 0 2,2%
of which oil 3 401 -2,8% -96,6 2,5%
of which gas 12 191 +0,4% +44,8 9,0%
Hydropower 25 557 +0,1% +21 18,9%
Wind 16 494 +9% +1 360 12,2%
Solar 9 435 +10,4% +890 7%
Bioenergy 2 122 +3,7% +75 1,6%
of which biogas 499 +8,4% +38,6 0,4%
of which biomass 674 +3,5% +22,8 0,5%
of which paper waste 51 -10,6% -6 0,04%
of which municipal waste 897 +2,2% +19,5 0,7%
Total 135 328 +1,7% +2 295 100%

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Energy and power

Understanding the difference between power and energy

Power (measured in watts, symbol W) represents a generation resource’s ability to deliver a quantity of energy per unit of time. A watt-hour (Wh) quantifies the energy delivered: 1 Wh is the energy produced by a 1 W generation facility over a one-hour period (1 W × 1h).
In addition to kilowatt-hours (kWh = 103 Wh), larger multiples of watt-hours are often used to describe electricity generation: megawatt-hours (MWh = 106 Wh), gigawatt-hours (GWh = 109 Wh) and terawatt-hours (TWh = 1012 Wh). The energy consumed in one hour corresponds to power delivered to meet demand during that hour.

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View the national registry of power generation and storage facilities

Since 2017, RTE has been listing the main characteristics of French power generation and storage facilities on OpenData Réseaux Energie, which is updated every month. Information provided includes the location of facilities, the type of technology and fuel used, capacity and annual output.

The data comes from all system operators in mainland France and the overseas territories. It can be found here.

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