District Energy in France

  • Country Profiles
  • 01 May 2017


Heat networks currently provide approximately 6% of France’s heat demand. However, the sector is expected to grow in the near future given the ambitious target set in the 2015 Energy Transition Law. Compared to 2012, DHC from renewable and recovered energy sources is assumed to increase by a five-fold by 2030.


As shown in the graph below, natural gas remains the main fuel source for district heating and tends to replace other fossil fuels with a higher carbon footprint, namely coal and oil. Renewables or recovered energy are used by a majority of heat networks (77% in 2015). Waste-to-energy is by far the main resource used but biomass plants are developing rapidly.



CHP has been encouraged by French energy policies for the last 20 years. Therefore, CHP capacities have grown continuously until recently. Following the new European rules on public support for environmental protection and energy, aids will be reduced with the implementation of the new scheme. CHP operators are therefore expecting a decrease in installed power in France over the next years.


Regarding district cooling, France has a total installed capacity of 719 MWth, representing one of the most extensive networks within Europe. District cooling is under constant development in France, since cooling demand is growing. Most district cooling users are in the service sector (museums, offices, shops…). The scheme of Certificates of Energy Savings is one of the main policies implemented by France to attain its energy efficiency objectives. It takes into account the connection to a district cooling network under certain conditions, notably in services buildings located in the French overseas departments and territories.



If you would like to learn more, you can purchase the latest Country by Country Survey.


Useful links:

Fédération des services énergie environnement (FEDENE)

Association nationale des collectivités, des associations et des entreprises pour la gestion des déchets, de l’énergie et des réseaux de chaleur (AMORCE)

Go Back