Indeed, nuclear energy, the first energy source in France, actually plays no part in the French heating network. Instead,natural gas powered more than a third of those networks in 2018. Energy recovery units and biomass represented 25 and 22 percent, respectively. Geothermal energy only accounted for 5 percent. That year more than 80 percent of this deep geothermal heat production was allocated to district heating networks.
France's energy mix is diverse. This can be observed in the heating network energy distribution. Around two thirds of heating networks were using at least two different energy sources in 2018. Despite the dominance of fossil energy, France constantly increased its share of renewable energy consumption in the heating and cooling sector in recent years, from 11.7 percent in 2005 to over 20 percent in 2016. Primary consumption of biogas in heating production is a classic example of the rise of renewables. In 2017, French heat production consumed about 400 thousand tons of oil equivalent of biogas. 11 years before, this number barely amounted to 60.
Overall, France ranked 14th among EU-countries regarding the share of renewable energy used in heating and cooling in 2017 with 21.4 percent, far behind countries such as Sweden and Finland.