Geothermal Energy in France. A Resource Fairly Accepted for Heating but Controversial for High-Energy Power Plants

  • Philippe Chavot
  • Anne Masseran
  • Cyrille Bodin
  • Yeny Serrano
  • Jean Zoungrana
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 67)


In this chapter, we will see that geothermal energy is guided by dynamics of development that are uneven depending on the region and the nature of the projects. Use of geothermal resources for heating had a major boom following the energy crises of the 1970s, particularly in the Parisian region. High-energy geothermal projects were first developed in the volcanic islands of French overseas territories in the 1980s. Its developments in mainland France are then linked to the energy transition policy implemented in the early 2010s. However, in several regions, opponents point out the risks arising from drilling techniques used to facilitate water circulation in rocks. But criticism is also focused on economic and political aspects. The first part of this chapter reports on the first developments of geothermal energy in France and its links with energy policies. The second part deals with social aspects, evoking the controversies that arose in France from 2014 onwards and the role of consultation mechanisms in these controversial situations.


France Citizen participation Energy transition Public controversy 



This chapter is based on research carried out within the context of the activities of the Social Sciences working group of the Labex G-EAU-THERMIE profonde (University of Strasbourg, CNRS, Electricité de Strasbourg) and was conducted within the framework of the WG 3.3 “risk governance” of the H2020 project DESTRESS, Desmonstration of soft stimulation treatments of geothermal reservoirs ( We would like to thanks Christine Heimlich for her critical reading of earlier versions and Nicolas Daignault for his work on the English version of the text.


  1. AFPG (2016) La géothermie en France. Etude du marché en 2015. AFPG, Paris.
  2. Blatrix B (1996) Vers une démocratie participative? Le cas de l’enquête publique. In: Chevallier J (ed) La gouvernabilité. PUF-CURAPP, Paris, pp 299–313Google Scholar
  3. Boissavy C, Rocher P, Laplaige P, Brange C (2016) Geothermal energy use, country update for France. Paper presented at the European Geothermal Congress 2016, Strasbourg, 19–23 Sept 2016.
  4. Chavot P, Masseran A, Serrano Y (2016) Information and public consultation exercises concerning geothermal projects. “The Strasbourg case”. Paper presented at the European Geothermal Congress 2016, Strasbourg, 19–23 Sept 2016Google Scholar
  5. Chavot P, Masseran A, Serrano Y, Zoungrana J (2017) Penser l’énergie localement? Le cas de la géothermie profonde dans l’Eurométropole de Strasbourg. Paper presented at the 14th symposium of the Association française de science politique. Montpellier, 10–12 July 2017Google Scholar
  6. Demarcq F, Vernier R, Sanjuan B (2014) Situation and perspectives of the Bouillante geothermal power plant in Guadeloupe, French West Indies. Paper presented at deep geothermal days, Paris, 10–11 Apr 2014Google Scholar
  7. Guillou-Frottier L (2003) Compilation et analyse des données thermiques sur le champ géothermique de Bouillante. Rapport final. BRGM/MRP-52452-FRGoogle Scholar
  8. Hecht G (1998) The radiance of France: nuclear power and national identity after world war II. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Lagache L (2012) Étude sur l’acceptabilité des risques liés à la géothermie profonde. Master Dissertation, Université de LyonGoogle Scholar
  10. Lagache L et al. (2013) How is evaluated acceptability of an EGS project in Europe: the Soultz-Kutzenhausen geothermal project? Paper presented at the European Geothermal Congress 2013, Pisa, 3–7 June 2013Google Scholar
  11. Laplaige P, Durimel H, Mompelat JM (2013) Développement de la géothermie dans la Caraïbe. Geosciences 2013:26–35Google Scholar
  12. Labussière L, Nadaï A (2015) L’énergie des sciences sociales. Alliance Athéna, GrenobleCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Topçu S (2013) La France nucléaire. L’art de gouverner une technologie contestée. Seuil, Paris Google Scholar
  14. White DM (1964) The ‘Gatekeeper’: a case study in the selection of news. In: Dexter LA, White DM (eds) People, society and mass communications. The Free Press of Glencoe, New York, pp 160–172Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Chavot
    • 1
  • Anne Masseran
    • 2
  • Cyrille Bodin
    • 1
  • Yeny Serrano
    • 1
  • Jean Zoungrana
    • 3
  1. 1.LISEC, University of StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.CREM, University of LorraineMetz Cedex 01France
  3. 3.SAGE, University of StrasbourgStrasbourg, CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations