Skip to content

France Sectors

What is Franceʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C aligned targets
Current targets

Power sector in 2030

France has a relatively low emitting power sector (around 80gCO₂/kWh in 2017). This is mostly due to the heavy reliance on nuclear power. The government aims to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the power mix to 50% by 2035. However, in February 2022, President Macron announced plans to build six new reactors and potentially commission an additional eight by 2035–2037 to deal with the current decaying state of existing reactors. A draft law to accelerate the construction was presented to the French Parliament in January 2023.

Regardless of lower total emissions, the sector’s carbon intensity would need to decline to 10–20 gCO₂/kWh (71–75% below 2019 levels) by 2030 to be 1.5°C compatible. The reduction could be driven by a high uptake of renewable energy and phasing out of coal by 2025, which would be consistent with the current government target of phasing out coal by 2022. However, in 2021, the government revised the plan to phase out coal by 2022, deciding to keep one power plant running at 10% capacity to “ensure network stability”. This could potentially keep coal in the French power mix until 2024 or 2026, which would not be in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways, requiring a phase-out of coal already in 2020.14 Furthermore, in light of the ongoing energy crisis, France has extended the operation of one coal plant until the end of 2023.

Policies and measures that drive the development of renewables will be key to decarbonising France’s power sector. 1.5°C compatible pathways show a share of renewables in the power mix of between 60% and 85% by 2030. France only generated 19% of its electricity from renewables in 2020, falling short of its 23% target.10

In reaction to the ongoing energy crisis, the French government has adopted measures including permitting renewable installations to sell electricity for 18 months at a market price, increasing the capacity of the already permitted projects by 40% and freezing the decrease of tariffs for PV projects on buildings for the year 2022. The measures are meant to reduce the risk of cancellation of planned renewable energy installations due to increasing material prices. However, they could also have the positive side effect of increasing the uptake of renewables.

Towards a decarbonised power sector

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways suggests that France could fully decarbonise its power sector between 2034 and 2037. The decarbonisation would be driven by a high uptake of renewables and a phase out of fossil gas between 2035 and 2038. The share of renewable energy in the power generation could reach between 75% and 95% by 2040.

The pathways show an overall increase in power demand which reflects the electrification of the economy and the power sector’s role in decarbonisation effort. In its low carbon national strategy, the French government aims at a ‘carbon free energy production’ by 2050. Even though this target goes beyond the electricity sector, France would need to decarbonise electricity generation much earlier to be in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways.

1 Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire. La transition écologique et solidaire vers la neutralité carbone. (2020).

2 Conseil d’Etat. Émissions de gaz à effet de serre : le Conseil d’État enjoint au Gouvernement de prendre des mesures supplémentaires avant le 31 mars 2022. (2021).

3 Dugast, C. & Joly, A. Depuis sa condamnation, l’État français s’est-il donné les moyens de son ambition climat ? (2022).

4 IEA. Global EV Data Explorer – Data Tools – IEA. (2022).

5 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Agir en cohérence avec les ambitions. Rapport annuel Neutralité Carbone (2019).

6 Government of France. National Climate and Energy Plan. (2020).

7 Ministère de l’Écologie. The Ecological and Inclusive Transition Towards Carbon Neutrality. 1–29 (2018).

8 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Renforcer L’Attenuation , Engager L’Adaptation. Rapport Annuel 2021. (2021).

9 International Energy Agency database. Energy Data and Statistics. (2021). supply&indicator=TPESbySource

10 Ministère de la Transition Ecologique. Les énergies renouvelables en France en 2020 – Suivi de la directive 2009/28/CE relative à la promotion de l’utilisation des énergies renouvelables | Données et études statistiques. (2021).

11 Kinley, R. It’s time for Macron to revive French leadership on EU climate goals. Energy Monitor (2022).

12 Legifrance. LOI n° 2015-992 du 17 août 2015 relative à la transition énergétique pour la croissance verte (1) – Légifrance. (2015).

13 Ministère de la Transition écologique. Loi de transition énergétique pour la croissance verte | Ministère de la Transition écologique. (2015).

14 La Tribune. La France ne sortira finalement pas du charbon en 2022 : la reconversion de la centrale EDF de Cordemais est abandonnée. (2021).

15 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Rapport annuel 2021. (2021).

16 Ministère de la Transition écologique. Plan de rénovation énergétique des bâtiments | Ministère de la Transition écologique. (2021).

17 Euractiv. EU nations approve end to combustion engine sales by 2035 – (2022).

18 ACEA. Electric vehicles: Tax benefits and purchase incentives in the 27 member states of the European Union. (2022).

Franceʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
20192030204020501 0001 500
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
Low energy demand
20192030204020501 0001 500
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Renewables incl. biomass

Franceʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand
  • 100%RE

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for France

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
10 to 20
−30 to 0
2034 to 2037
Relative to reference year in %
−75 to −71%
−100 to −99%
−149 to −104%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Share of unabated gas
2 to 3
2035 to 2038
Share of renewable energy
60 to 85
76 to 96
98 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel


Demand shifting towards the power sector

The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time. See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.

Franceʼs renewable electricity investments

Billion USD / yr


Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy

Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in France to be on the order of USD 6 to 52 billion by 2030 and 18 to 79 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘high energy demand, low CDR reliance’ pathway shows a particularly high increase in renewable capacity investments, which could be driven by an increase of electrification of end-use sectors and growing energy demand. Other modelled pathways have relatively lower investments in renewables and rely to varying degrees on other technologies and measures such as energy efficiency and negative emissions technologies, of which the latter can require high up-front investments.