Greenhouse gas emissions

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Greenhouse gas emissions

To ensure consistency with the results, the data in the table and chart below are consolidated based on EDF’s percentage ownership of Group companies, including associates and joint ventures (net consolidation). The 2015 data has been adjusted to reflect this consolidation rule.

CO2 Emissions

EDF Group – Total net CO2 emissions due to electricity and heat generation

2016 2015
In M tonnes 53.5 67.0
In g/kWh 82 95

EDF Group – Net specific CO2 emissions (in g/kWh)

The reduction in Group CO2, in both specific and absolute terms, is attributable to a negative consolidation scope effect(1) (–2.7 Mt) and to the decrease in coal-fired generation in the United Kingdom (–12.1 Mt). As the variable costs for coal-fired generation are higher than for other forms of generation, less demand was made on coal-fired plants. However, EDF Energy’s nuclear generation performed well, increasing 7.4% compared with 2015.

Furthermore, hydropower generation in 2016 was greater than in 2015 (up 2,606 GWh).

The chart below shows the Group’s emissions since 2006. The data was calculated on the basis of full consolidation as that was the method used in non-financial data publications before 2015.

The downward curve since 2006 became steeper over the past three years due to the reduction in fossil-fired generation and efficiency improvements to remaining assets.

(1) Sale of a coal-fired power plant in China, a gas cogeneration plant in Hungary and a CCGT in the United Kingdom.

EDF Group – Indirect CO2 emissions associated with the combustion of gas purchased for sale to end-customers

Gas sold to end-customers accounts for a very significant portion of the Group’s indirect emissions.

in M tonne CO2 equivalent 47.5

Breakdown of indirect CO2 emissions associated with the combustion of gas purchased for sale to end-customers in 2016


Apart from carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, fossil-fired power plants (coal, fuel oil and gas) release methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), which also contribute to climate change. The emissions of these gases are presented in CO2 equivalent in the table below.

EDF Group – CH4, N2O and SF6 emissions (in kt CO2 equivalent)

2016 2015
CH4 emissions 44.4 42.7 (37.3)
N2O emissions 267.1 293.9 (238.9)
SF6 emissions 67.5 72.4 (80.3)

The global warming potentials (GWPs) were updated in 2016 (see Methodology, page 74). To facilitate comparison, the 2015 values have been recalculated, with the previous values shown in brackets.

EDF Group – CH4 and N2O emissions (in kt CO2 equivalent)

N2O emissions declined 9% between 2015 and 2016 while CH4 emissions increased 4%. The annual change in Group emissions is due mainly to the decrease in coal-fired generation. The increased use of gas-fired assets was insufficient to offset the benefits of lower N2O emissions and caused a rise in CH4 emissions. The greater demand on gas-fired power plants in 2016 was due to nuclear unit shutdowns at the end of the year in France and to higher electricity consumption in Italy.

EDF Group – SF6 emissions (in kt CO2 equivalent)

The values calculated with the previous GWPs are 80.3 kt for the Group, 58.6 kt for EDF and 69.2 kt for EDF, EDF PEI and Enedis.

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is a colourless, odourless, non-toxic and non-flammable gas. It is an excellent insulator for electrical equipment that as a result is widely used for the high- and medium-voltage circuit breakers of transmission and distribution networks.

In large fossil-fired and hydro plants, the gas is found in circuit breakers and shielded (metal-clad) substations. EDF’s SF6 emissions in France have fallen steadily over recent years (down 2% in 2016, 20% in 2015, 10% in 2014 and 3% in 2013), mainly due to ongoing works to modernise storage equipment.

At Group level, the drop in emissions between 2015 and 2016 (down 6.8%) is due to Enedis, EDF Energy and Edison improving control over accidental leaks.