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France

France

New branch of EWEA launched

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Most of the fledgling French wind industry is now gathered in a national branch of the European Wind Energy Association. "We want to be a catalyst for this energy of the future," says chairman and founder Edmond Széchényi, a senior researcher at the French aerospace centre, ONERA. According to Francis Armand of renewables agency ADEME, Széchényi "made a grand slam" by gathering every single French player in the wind industry into one group, including developers and manufacturers who barely spoke to one another before. The membership of several large industrial groups also indicates a renewed interest in wind power from France's industrial base. These include l'Aerospatiale, SOFICAR (now making blades for wind turbines), GEC Alsthom CEGELEC, and Jeumont-Schneider, two electrical construction conglomerates. They join AFINEOLE, a grouping of industries with interests in wind energy which includes NORELEC, a maker of generators, and CMD Engrenages et Reducteurs, which supplies gears.

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