Aerowatt, a French independent wind power developer, owner and operator, has raised EUR 17 million through a private placement of shares on Paris Euronext's Marché Libre in a move to strengthen its position in the French market. Until recently the company, which was founded by Vergnet, a maker of small wind turbines mainly for off-grid application, worked almost exclusively in France's overseas departments, where Vergnet has its main markets. It is now shifting its focus to the mainland, where it is developing medium size plant of around 20 MW. Chairman Jérôme Billerey says the injection of new capital and the increased market recognition will enable Aerowatt to "enter a new phase, develop new sites and build plant already in its portfolio." Prior to the Euronext listing, in September Aerowatt raised a EUR 4.3 million from its shareholders to help finance three wind plant with a combined capacity of 11.2 MW currently under construction in New Caledonia, Réunion and Guadeloupe. Then in October, it bought a portfolio of wind power projects with a potential capacity of 102 MW in the Ille-et-Vilaine département of Brittany from an undisclosed developer. Work on the projects is slated to start in 2008. Aerowatt currently has 38 MW in operation, 2 MW in France and the rest overseas, and is targeting 160 MW by 2011. In France, its projects are concentrated mainly in the north in the regions of Brittany, the Ardennes and the Centre.