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Environment / Sustainability

French delegation found success in last week's visits to CSU, Denver area

March 31, 2009

A high-tech delegation from France's Grenoble area (Rhone-Alpes region) spent an 'energetic' week in the Denver area - including a stop at the Colorado State University Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory and other renewable energy projects - for the sustainability conference, meetings and exchanges with Coloradan companies, research institutes, clusters and top officials. Both Colorado and the Grenoble region have remarkable assets in new energy technologies.

Renewable energy, clean tech

Invited by CORE to give the luncheon Keynote at the CORE’s Sustainable Opportunities Summit on March 17, Claude Graff, VP Renewable Energies at global Schneider Electric’s Paris HQ and Chairman of the TENERRDIS renewable energy cluster in the Grenoble area, gave an international perspective at this 4th annual event.

“What we have seen is that not only do the two regions have the same vision about
cleantech and new energies, but they are also both very pragmatic, said Claude Graff of Schneider Electric and TENERRDIS. We have seen a lot of opportunities to work together in the future in smart grids, in renewables and in other areas such as fuel cells, and this makes a lot of sense” he further confirmed.

French trade delegation visted Colorado State

Co-organized by Denver-based CORA (Colorado Rhone-Alpes Economic Development Network), an initiative of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, and AEPI (Grenoble-Isere Eco. Dev. Agency) in Grenoble, France, the trade mission’s 12-member delegation included innovative small and large French companies (Schneider Electric and subsidiary Xantrex, both energy and transportation divisions of Veolia, Recupyl, etc.), Grenoble’s polytechnic university tech-transfer office (INPG Entreprises), the head of the Micro/Nano/ Embedded Systems cluster (Minalogic), a service provider (Plug Into Europe) and economic development organizations (AEPI, Invest in France). The group met both together and separately with counterparts and potential partners in Colorado.

Also on the agenda were visits and complementary technical meetings at NREL, Colorado State University and its startup companies in Fort Collins, CSIA (Colorado Software Industry Association), a preconference seminar on opportunities entitled “Grenoble-Isère, Rhône Alpes, France, a European Center for Innovation” and a VIP reception hosted by Molson Coors and sponsored by Schneider Electric, AEPI, The Invest in France Agency (IFA), and United Airlines.

The group and their guests were honored by a welcome from Governor Bill Ritter, an eloquent supporter of sustainability who praised the initiative. 

Business, research partnerships

CORA also partnered with the Colorado International Trade Office (ITO), which hosted a breakfast briefing on Thursday morning, to introduce the group to the climate change and renewable energy policies and economic development goals of Colorado.

“The Colorado International Trade Office was pleased to assist the French delegation with introductions to potential Colorado business and research partners and State officials involved in the renewable energy and clean tech sectors. It is partnerships with organizations such as the French American Chamber of Commerce and CORA that help us leverage resources for the benefit of Colorado’s economy and businesses,” noted Pam Reichert, ITO Director.

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336