France and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

France no longer has any operating coal mines with the La Houve Mine closing in 2004.[1] However, 23.5 million tonnes of coal were imported in 2005[2], originating from South Africa, Australia, and the United States. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that approximately half of the coal is used for power generation and the remainder by the steel industry.[3]

The French power generation industry is dominated by the government-owned Electricite de France, which is most commonly referred to as EDF. EDF, the U.S. Energy Information Administration states, "controls almost the entire market for electricity generation and distribution in the country".[4] EDF is noted for its reliance on nuclear power, which generates 79% of the country's electricity. Nuclear power production grew rapidly in the 1970's in response to the OPEC oil shocks and dovetailed in with the French government's emphasis on developing nuclear weapons.

Proposed Coal-Fired Power Stations

  • Cordemais Power Station Expansion near the village of Cordemais, Nantes has reopened the Cordemais 3 oil-fired generating unit at the existing Cordemais power station owned and operated by EDF; the 185 million euro expansion would add 700 megawatts to the existing 1900 megawatt station.[5] In February 2006 Power in Europe, an energy trade newsletter, reported that the "additional 700 MW to come from re-opening a closed unit at cost of €50 million, plus €55 million spend to improve performance of existing operational units. €80 million to be spent on Nox reductions. Project is part of EDF programme to increase capacity by 3,100 MW by 2008."[6] This project is now completed with EDF stating in its 2007 annual report that the Cordemais 3 unit was "brought back into service as planned, after being shut down for 12 years".[7]
  • Le Havre Power Station, Normandy: In April 2008 Power in Europe, an energy trade newsletter, reported that in November 2007 Endesa France mentioned "plans for a ‘zero-emission’ 700-MW plant based on clean coal technology at the Channel port of Le Havre. Its other developments on established coal sites are gas-fired CC projects."[8]
  • In July 2006 it was reported that the energy resources company Seren planned to re-open a coal mine in Lucenay-les-Aix in the Nievre area to fuel a 1,000 megawatt power station. It was proposed that the power station would cost 1 billion euros with a notional commissioning date of 2011.[9]

Citizen activism

Greenpeace activists take over French National Assembly on December 2, 2009.

December 2, 2009: Activists invade French National Assembly climate change debate in Paris

Greenpeace activists interrupted a debate on the CCopenhagen climate summit in the French National Assembly. Protesters waved banners, chanted from the guest galleries, rappelled into the area where parliament members sit. The protesters were evicted, with Green Party members applauding their efforts and other officials decrying the invasion as "counter-productive" and "a violation of democracy."[10]

Articles and Resources


  1. Harold R. Newman, "The Mineral Industry of France", 2005 Minerals Yearbook, U.S. Geological Survey, December 2007, page 3.
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "France Energy Profile", June 16, 2008.
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "France: Coal", U.S. Energy Information Administration, website, undated but approx 2004.
  4. U.S. Energy Information Administration, France: Electricity", U.S. Energy Information Administration website, accessed July 2008.
  5. EDF, "EDF brings into service a quarter of its planned new generation capacity in France", Media Release, January 23, 2008.
  6. "PiE;s new power plant tracker - April 2008", Power in Europe, Issue 523, April 7, 2008, page 14.
  7. EDF, 2007 Annual Report, page 62.
  8. "PiE;s new power plant tracker - April 2008", Power in Europe, Issue 523, April 7, 2008, page 16.
  9. Celine Le Prioux, "France's Coal Mining Industry To Get Second Wind With New Power Project", AFP, August 20, 2006.
  10. "Greenpeace activists invade National Assembly debate on Copenhagen," France 24, December 2, 2009.

Related articles

Europe and coal

External Articles

Background information

  • International Energy Agency, "Coal in France in 2005", International Energy Agency website, accessed July 2008.
  • International Energy Agency, "France", International Energy Agency website, accessed July 2008.
  • U.S. Geological Survey, "France" 1994-2005
  • European Environment Agency, European Pollutant Emission Register. (This has a list of power stations and their current emissions).
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