Greening District Heating Cuts Emissions

  • Cities & District Energy News
  • 12 December 2016
  • by Sustania

Article published on Sustania.


Paris is trans­form­ing its en­ergy port­fo­lio by power­ing 50% of its dis­trict heat­ing net­work with a mix of new re­new­able en­ergy sources.


In 2016, Paris halved the use of coal in its ex­tens­ive dis­trict heat­ing net­work, and now powers 50% of the heat­ing net­work with re­new­able and re­covered en­ergy. The new en­ergy mix com­prises 1% geo­thermal, 2% bio­fuel, 10% bio­mass, and 41% heat gen­er­ated by the thermal treat­ment of waste. The city is also con­vert­ing five power plants from coal to nat­ural gas. This shift will con­trib­ute to a 25% de­crease in CO2 emis­sions, a 98% de­crease in SO2 emis­sions, and will gen­er­ate enough en­ergy to heat 500,000 houses.


This large-scale trans­ition helps the city in­crease its share of re­new­able en­ergy sources by up to 10%, and works to­wards ful­filling Par­is’ com­mit­ment that 25% of its en­ergy con­sump­tion will be powered by re­new­able or re­covered sources by 2020. The goal works within the lar­ger frame­work of Par­is’s Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan, which aims to re­duce the city’s CO2 emis­sions by 25% by 2020.


  • ENVIRONMENTAL: The shift from coal to gas plants led to bet­ter air qual­ity in the Paris re­gion due to a 90% de­crease in dust and 85% de­crease in NOx.
  • SOCIAL: Due to the pro­ject, the tax on en­ergy prices de­creased from 20% to 5%, which will lead to cheaper heat­ing bills for cit­izens.
  • ECONOMIC: By di­ver­si­fy­ing the dis­trict heat­ing sys­tem’s re­new­able en­ergy mix, the city is fos­ter­ing the de­vel­op­ment of new tech­no­lo­gies and in­nov­a­tion in new en­ergy sources.
  • HEALTH: The end of heavy fuel ex­ploit­a­tion in the heat plants is re­du­cing noise pol­lu­tion for the nearby com­munit­ies.


THE RESULT: 350,000 tons of CO2 reduced per year by powering 50% of Paris’s district heating with renewable energy.


THE CHALLENGE: Paris’ district heating network is the largest in France, and the 11th largest in the world. By applying proven technology on such a large scale, and divesting from coal in order to adopt a renewable energy mix to power the heating system, the city is realizing significant reductions in CO2 and improving urban air quality.

Go Back