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French electricity consumption reached its lowest level in 10 years in 2019

14 Feb 2020

According to the French power transmission system operator RTE, electricity consumption in France declined by 0.5% in 2019 (including climate corrections), reaching its lowest level in 10 years. This slight decrease is explained by efforts in terms of energy efficiency (in buildings and equipments), by the structural shift in economic activities (towards services activities), and by a slowdown in economic growth, especially at the end of year.

Power generation dipped by 2% in 2019 as hydropower generation decreased by 12% and some nuclear power plants were unavailable during the year, reducing nuclear generation by 3.5% and raising gas-fired power generation (+24%). Coal-fired power generation, which was less competitive than gas, continued to fall (-72% in 2019). All the new capacities added in 2019 (2.3 GW) were renewable, mainly wind (+1.36 GW) and solar (+890 MW) and renewable power generation continued to progress in 2019: wind generation rose by 21% and solar production by 7.8%. This increase in renewable generation, combined with the substitution of coal by gas for thermal generation, contributed to cut CO2 emissions from the power sector by 6% in 2019.

Despite the decline in its power generation, France remained a leading European exporter in 2019, with net exports of 56 TWh, down from 63 TWh in 2018.

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