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Hydropower in France - statistics & facts

In the aftermath of the Paris Climate Agreement, more than 50 percent of the French population identified the development of renewable energy sources together with new nuclear power plants as one of the priorities of the energy sector.

Indeed, France’s production capacity from renewable energies rose constantly and almost doubled between 2008 and 2020. Moreover, the share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption in the country has never been as high, reaching 16.6 percent in 2018.

Thanks to its geography and its numerous rivers, France’s first renewable electricity source, only surpassed by nuclear energy, was hydropower, generating about 65 terawatts-hour in 2021. In fact, hydroelectricity represented 13 percent of French electricity production the previous year.

In 2019, French hydropower industry revenue was more than two billion euros. Furthermore in 2020 the industry was employing 12,240 people in direct jobs.

Fluctuating in the past years, gross hydroelectricity production reached its peak in 2018, amounting to almost 65,300 TWh. In 2020 the gross electricity production from hydropower plants amounted to a bit less, reaching 65,130 terawatt hours.

Following COP 21 and the Paris Climate Agreement, France is on the way to an energy transition and will lean on the renewable hydropower industry to reach COP 21 goals. Regarding hydropower, France targets an 18 percent share of renewable gross energy consumption by 2020.

According to the European Commission, France’s gross inland consumption of renewable energy will exceed 50,000 kilotons of oil equivalent (ktoe) by 2050. Hydro-energy will reach 6,700 ktoe, roughly a million tons more than in 2020.


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