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

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.

The Solution

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 Benefits – 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 Benefits – Due to the project, the tax on energy prices decreased from 20% to 5%, which will lead to cheaper heating bills for citizens.

Economic Benefits – 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 Benefits – The end of heavy fuel exploitation in the heat plants is reducing noise pollution for the nearby communities.

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Key Impact
350,000 tons of CO2 reduced per year by powering 50% of Paris's district heating with renewable energy
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