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Conventional fossil-fired power

Flexible, responsive, and efficient, fossil-fired energy contributes to the performance of EDF’s generation facilities. With 35 GW installed capacity worldwide, EDF is a major player in fossil-fired power generation.
La centrale thermique de Martigues In 10 years, EDF has reduced the atmospheric emissions of its fossil-fired plants by 50%.  

Internationally recognized expertise    

With 48 GW of gross capacity installed around the world, EDF is a leader in the field of fossil fuel power generation. The EDF fossil fuel power plant base produces 80 TWh per year and represents 13% of the Group's energy mix, with significant disparities between countries - between 3 and 5 % of production in mainland France, and 77% in Italy.

Within this sector, which accounts for two-thirds of the world's electricity production, the Group has succeeded in deploying its expertise as architect and lead contractor on projects requiring the most advanced technologies: Norte Fluminense in Brazil, Phu My in Vietnam and Sloe in the Netherlands are examples of facilities that EDF has built.

Adjustment to demand for electricity

In addition to nuclear and hydraulic energy, fossil fuel energy is an essential element of EDF's energy mix. In mainland France, fossil fuel energy accounts for between 3 and 5% of EDF's electricity production and acts as a backup for spikes in demand.

Since electricity cannot be stored, EDF adjusts its production capacity to usage in real time. Fossil fuel energy, for which start-up times are relatively short, helps to manage major variations in demand - such as on very cold days (peak energy usage) or when there is no wind or sun to generate renewable energy.

Modernisation of sites

In France, the fossil fuel power plant base has been part of a large-scale modernisation programme since 2007 with the reactivation of fuel oil plants generating a total of 2,600 MW, along with the commissioning of 6 combustion turbine generators collectively offering 1,060 MW. In 2001, EDF also commissioned the combined-cycle gas (CCG) power plant at Blénod (Lorraine). With a capacity of 430 MW, it was designed to operate for around 25 years, to produce the electricity required for the region's supply, following the closure of three coal-fired plants.

The Group also converted the fuel oil plant at Martigues thanks to the  "repowering" technique into two CCG units of 465 MW each, operating on natural gas.

Furthermore, EDF has entered into a partnership with General Electric to develop a new-generation CCG that is technically superior (510 MW in under 30 minutes and 61% yield) and cleaner (10 % less CO2 emissions than for a traditional CCG). It is scheduled for opening in 2016 at the Bouchain site.

In the international arena, investments in gas power plants have led to the commissioning of three new CCGs, each with 437 MW of capacity, at the West Burton site in the United Kingdom, for EDF Energy. In Italy, the Edison subsidiary commissioned 8 CCGs between 2001 and 2007 (total of 7,000 MW with Edipower), then started a joint company in Greece with Hellenic Petroleum to operate a 400 MW CCG and develop a second one.

The EDF Group is actively pursuing innovative technologies to allow for more competitive and environmentally friendly energy production (clean coal, new generation combined-cycle power plants, carbon capturing and storage, combined fresh water and power production). 

Environmental conservation

Over the past 10 years, EDF has reduced atmospheric emissions from its fossil fuel power plants by 50%, by using better fuel and by gradually equipping its plants with the most modern anti-pollution systems. Several techniques have been developed:

  • desulphurization of coal fumes, or fume washing, helps reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 90%;
  • denitrification eliminates 80% of nitrogen oxide emissions;
  • dust removers eliminate 99% of dust;
  • "low NOx" burners installed in 2011 and 2012 at two fuel oil plants reduce these emissions by 50 to 70%.

Moreover, EDF recycles 100% of the ash produced by burning coal.

Lastly, the group is continuing its research to further reduce CO2 emissions from its power plants. The group is involved internationally in the development of cleaner new and is working to optimise techniques for capturing and storing CO2 , in order to reduce atmospheric emissions.


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