The EDF adventureA global electricity generator in the spotlight

Forties to today

EDF emerges
from the post-war world

In the France of the 1930s, around two hundred private companies generate electricity, a further hundred are involved in transmission, and more than a thousand distribute power to consumers. Supply and prices differ considerably depending on service provider and region. The creation of a single public service for electricity becomes a necessity.

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1946

The French government takes the decision to create a state monopoly.

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1946

The French government takes the decision to create a state monopoly for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. Electricité de France (EDF) and Gaz de France (GDF) become a reality on 8 April 1946.

1947

The Group's first major task is to entirely rebuild the transmission grid.

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1947

The Group's first major task is to entirely rebuild the transmission grid that had been partially destroyed during the war. At the same time, on a series of large-scale hydropower projects.

France is free. But everything has to be rebuilt. The mission of EDF is an integral part of its DNA from the very beginning: we are builders of the future. A public service elevated to the status of national priority.

A time
of major projects

In the 1950s, France embarks on a series of major projects made possible by the Marshall plan, which provides 36% of EDF investment between 1948 and 1952. Growth in electricity consumption requires the construction of high-capacity generation and transmission infrastructures.

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The early 1950s

1950

Home advisers teach the domestic uses of electricity in schools.

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1950

Home advisers teach the domestic uses of electricity in schools. Growth in electricity consumption doubles in 10 years.

1953

The Tignes Dam (in the Savoie region) is officially opened on 4 July.

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1953

The Tignes Dam (in the Savoie region) is officially opened by President Vincent Auriol on 4 July. It is Europe's tallest dam.

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The mid-1950s

1950

Thermal power stations become essential to cope with fluctuations in demand.

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1950

Thermal power stations become essential to cope with fluctuations in demand. Initially coal-fired, they are progressively reconfigured to use oil.

1959

Construction of the Serre-Ponçon Dam (Alps)

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1959

EDF demonstrates its expertise with construction of the Serre-Ponçon Dam (Alps); the continent's largest earth core dam. This colossal project involves diverting the Durance River and relocating the entire population of surrounding villages.

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1960

Construction of the Roselend Dam (Savoie)

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1960

1960 sees completion of the Roselend Dam, considerated to be the most beautiful structure of its type. EDF uses a combination of two techniques for the first time: that of the arch-buttress dam and that of the viaduc.

EDF rebuilds the grid in response to new and immense levels of demand. Great dams rise from the earth to become new monuments in the national landscape. Electricity brings every family in every part of France into the modern world.

The euphoria
of growth

France experiences a euphoric period, matching the global annual economic growth figure of 5.3%. French people buy televisions, refrigerators and domestic appliances of every kind.

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1960

The Law of 21 December 1960 switches France to a 220-volt supply.

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1960

The Law of 21 December 1960 switches France to a 220-volt supply. Manufacturers like Moulinex are then assisted by EDF so that the French population can buy sufficiently powerful appliances.

1963

Launch of the blue meter «compteur bleu»

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1963

Launch of the blue mete' (as known to be called as “le compteur bleu”) that lets consumers decide on their own power needs. It is promoted using the Group's first real advertising campaign, with a slogan that translates as: "Get the blue meter for a better life".

France's first nuclear power station at Chinon comes on line.

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1963

France's first nuclear power station at Chinon comes on line. Constructed close to the Châteaux of the Loire Valley, it boasts bold architecture and cooling towers limited to 28 meters in height.

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1966

General de Gaulle opens the Rance tidal power plant.

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1966

General de Gaulle opens the Rance tidal power plant in November 1966. The power station uses the power of the tides to generate electricity. It's a world first!

1968

The first oil-fired thermal power station at Porcheville comes on line.

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1968

The first oil-fired thermal power station at Porcheville (Yvelines) comes on line. It boasts the impressive generating capacity of 600 megawatts.

At this time, the post war boom has begun. Local authorities, firms, consumers want to grow. EDF successfully takes up the challenge.

The turning point
of the oil crisis

After years of sustained growth, France is suddenly plunged into the oil crisis of 1973. The country decides to go nuclear to guarantee its energy independence.

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1971

EDF develops and markets an electric heating system

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1971

After nine years of research, EDF develops and markets an electric heating system that proves instantly successful.

1973

Pierre Messmer announces the launch of construction work on 13 nuclear power stations

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1973

Pierre Messmer, Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou, announces the construction of 13 new nuclear power stations in 1974 and 1975.

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1977

Fessenheim, the first power station to generate energy using enriched uranium, comes on line

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1977

The first power station to generate energy using enriched uranium comes on line at Fessenheim on the River Rhine.

1978

The country is paralyzed by a widespread power cut

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1978

On 19 December 1978, France is paralyzed by a general power failure that leaves most of the country without electricity. Caused by the failure of a very high voltage transmission line, this event leads to a step for a modernization of the national transport grid.

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1980

The nuclear power station at Gravelines comes on line

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1980

The Gravelines nuclear power station on the North Sea coast becomes the largest in France, and comes on line in the same year as its counterparts at Tricastin (Rhône Valley), and Dampierre (Loiret region).

1973: The oil crisis. For EDF, it is a new battle to be won. In the meantime, we build the French nuclear power base: Gravelines, Paluel, Fessenheim, Civaux and many others to guarantee France's energy independence.

Supporting
exponential growth
in the uses of electricity

Fridges, TVs, computers... consumption becomes a universal right. EDF upgrades its transmission grid and diversifies its generating resources to support the growth in demand for electricity.

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1980

Upgrading France’s electrical grid

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1980

Upgrading its transmission grid allows France to enter the all-electric age.

1983

Official opening of Thémis, the first solar power plant

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1983

Official opening of Thémis, the first solar power plant, near Targassone (Eastern Pyrenees). Unique in France, this solar power plant is both a generating facility and a solar energy R&D center.

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1984

The first nuclear power station built abroad

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1984

The first nuclear power station built abroad (Daya Bay in China). EDF exports its nuclear expertise for the first time.

1985

Opening of the Cross-Channel interconnector linking France with England

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1985

The 60-mile long HDVC Cross-Channel interconnector linking Bonningues-les-Calais with Sellindge in England comes on line. The new cable allows France to export its electricity to England.

1987

Creation of the EDF Foundation

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1987

Creation of the EDF Foundation. The Group expands its sponsorship policy.

As consumption increases, EDF rises to a new technological challenge to ensure national supply. The world is changing, and so is EDF.

Privatization
and international
expansion

The French electricity market is privatized, and EDF expands into the wider Europe. Trading becomes more intense, and the issues of sustainable development are embraced.

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1992

EDF makes its first international investments

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1992

EDF makes its first international investments, first in South America, and then in Europe. The Group workforce grows to 118,181.

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2001

EDF publishes its Agenda 21 policy and signs up to the UN Global Compact

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2001

EDF publishes its Agenda 21 policy, which interprets the commitments signed by more than 150 nation states at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and joins the UN Global Compact, which encourages companies to embrace universal principles on human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anticorruption.

2004

The market is deregulated for business and local authority customers

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2004

The electricity market is deregulated for business and local authority customers (70% of the market).

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2005

EDF becomes a market-listed limited liability company (SA)

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2005

EDF becomes a market-listed limited liability company (SA). It is now possible to become a shareholder in the world's biggest electricity generator.

2007

The market is deregulated for consumers

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2007

The market is deregulated for consumers. European markets are fully privatized. Businesses and consumers can now choose their supplier.

With market privatization and its flotation as a market-listed company, EDF is launched into a competitive world and restructures itself to offer its expertise to international markets.

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Anticipating tomorrow's world

New technologies have opened the doors to a connected world. The need to find more innovative, less polluting energy solutions is one of the major challenges at the start of the third millennium.

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Work begins on the new-generation nuclear power station at Flamanville

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2008

EDF begins work on a new-generation nuclear power station at Flamanville. The construction of France's first EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) marks an essential milestone in the preparations for replacing EDF's existing nuclear power stations.

2008

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EDF expands its European positions

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2009

EDF expands its European positions in the UK (EDF Energy), Germany, Belgium (EDF Luminus), Austria, the Netherlands and Poland (through subsidiaries or equity holdings).

2009

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The Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant in Laos comes on line

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2010

The Group brings the Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant in Laos on line. It is the largest hydropower project in Southeast Asia.

2010

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EDF becomes a major player in the gas market

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2011

EDF becomes a major player in the gas market with the acquisition of an equity stake in the Italian Edison Group, and the launch of construction work on an LNG terminal at Dunkerque.

2011

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Acquisition of EDF EN: the Group strengthens its position in renewables

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2011

The Group strengthens its position in renewables with the acquisition of EDF EN, which is focused primarily on the development of wind and solar power.

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Launch of Smart Electric Lyon.

2012

Launch of Smart Electric Lyon, the largest smart city experimental project in Europe involving 21 industrial partners and a team of researchers conducting more than 25,000 experiments in and around the city of Lyon, in conjunction with industrial companies and domestic consumers.

2012

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The Teesside offshore wind park comes on line in the UK

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2013

The EDF Energy Teesside offshore wind park in the UK begins to feed power into the grid. This 27-turbine offshore wind farm places EDF as a leader in offshore wind farm in Europe. This demonstration of expertise results in EDF being appointed by the French government to build three wind parks offshore Fécamp, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Saint-Nazaire.

2013

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Work begins on two 3rd-generation (EPR) reactors at Hinkley Point

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2014

An agreement is signed by EDF and the British government to commence work on two third-generation (EPR) reactors at Hinkley Point in the UK. The integration of Dalkia France completes the Group's range of energy services.

2014

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The EDF Lab opens at Saclay

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2015

EDF opens its first campus dedicated entirely to R&D at Saclay, near Paris. Close to scientific and academic partners, this center will be staffed by 1,500 researchers and R&D staff, and its training center will welcome 20,000 Group employees every year.

2015

EDF will never give up on progress.

New patterns of consumption, globalization and growth in emerging countries: these challenges will be successfully faced by EDF. We will always be there to continue this enormous human and industrial adventure.