Compagnie Nationale du Rhône

Compagnie Nationale du Rhône
Industry Power generation
Founded 1933
Headquarters Lyon, France
Key people
Elisabeth Ayrault (Chairwoman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer) - Thierry Saegeman (Managing Director) - Julien Français (Managing Director)
Products Electricity
Revenue €1.09 billion (2015)
Number of employees
1,372 (2015)
North part of the Caderousse dam on the Rhône river
Avignon facility

The Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) is a French electricity generation company, mainly supplying renewable power from hydroelectric facilities on the Rhone.


Established in 1933, as of 2009 the company derives most of its power from 19 major dams on the Rhone River with associated power stations, for which it has a concession until 2023. The company also has wind and solar power farms.[1] This company has been totally independent of Électricité de France (EDF) since 2002, and is EDF's main competitor in the French electricity market. Its production averages 14.4 billion TWh per year, a quarter of the national hydropower and 3% of French electricity production.

Since its inception, the company was entrusted by the State to develop and operate the Rhone, with three important goals: power generation, navigation, irrigation and other agricultural uses. The Génissiat, Donzère-Mondragon, Beauchastel, Montélimar, Seyssel and Chautagne dams, previously operated by EDF, are the main facilities.


France implemented directives to open the electricity market to competition in the early 2000s, but by law the public had to retain a majority stake in CNR. The Caisse des dépôts et consignations holds 33.20% of shares, and 16.83% are held by various local communities, totaling 50.03%. Electrabel, a subsidiary of ENGIE, acquired the remaining 49.97%. The European Commission found that GDF Suez had effectively controlled CNR since December 2003 due to the dilution of public ownership among the different communities and their lack of participation at general meetings. Electrabel was fined 20 million euros for not having warned the European Commission about the effect of the acquisition.


High tension lines at Avignon

Key events in the history of the company:[2]


Profile of the Rhône with its different dams
Lock and power station at Avignon

As of 31 December 2015 the facilities were:[4]


Installed capacity as of 31 December 2015 is 3,464 MW:[5]

Average annual production: 14.4 TWh.




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