The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has embarked on a series of initiatives to strengthen its lobbying role and improve public opinion of wind energy in Europe. A first step is the formation of a series of working groups to spread the association's workload and extend its activities into new areas. "The main reason is financial," explains EWEA's Christophe Bourillon. "But it is a good way to get members to commit themselves to the association and maximise all their knowledge and expertise." The new communications group, headed by Søren Krohn of the Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association, will look after public relations activities, press relationships and publications. An external affairs group under Klaus Rave of Fördergesellschaft Windenergie EV Investitionsbank will develop links with financial and insurance institutions. Other groups are being formed to look after: internal affairs, headed by Larry Staudt from the Irish Wind Energy Association; technology, headed by Peter Hjuler Jensen from the Danish wind turbine test centre at Risø; industry, headed by Antonio Mart’nez from wind turbine manufacturer Ecotècnia of Spain; and integration, headed by Nils Andersen from Vestas in Denmark. Bourillon plans to strengthen the lobbying function of the association's quarterly magazine Wind Directions. Until now it has been published jointly with the British Wind Energy Association, but from the next issue it is to be produced solely by EWEA. "We are going to give space to all the national [wind energy] associations and open it up to non wind organisations that the wind industry should know about as well," he says. EWEA is also in the process of recruiting a full time public relations expert.