A legal battle with anti-wind activists has frozen investment in France's onshore wind sector, threatening a "sea change" in energy pledged by Socialist President Francois Hollande and his coalition partner Greens.

Hollande wants to see France boost its renewable energy output from sources such as wind and solar power while closing the oldest of its nuclear plants and eschewing shale gas development.

But legal wrangling that threatens to drag on for months has created uncertainty over the future of tariffs paid to producers of wind power, halting needed investment.

Europe's largest electricity exporter fell to fourth place behind Italy in installed onshore wind power capacity last year.

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