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The Guardian: Big energy firms play it dirty

Julia Finch
Wednesday March 5 2008

Their audacity knows no bounds. The power companies are threatening to scale down their investments in green power projects if the government introduces a windfall tax on their high earnings. Obviously, they are not putting it that bluntly – choosing instead to demand a “stable, predictable investment climate” to deliver green funding – but the message is clear.

The two companies to fire off these warnings yesterday were British Gas and Drax. At least British Gas has a few wind turbines but Drax’s sole asset – a coal-fired power station – has rewarded its shareholders handsomely while feeding more carbon into the atmosphere than any other single plant in the country.

In January Ofgem said power generators had made £9bn of windfall profit through the emissions trading scheme. And it is only a few days since some of the energy giants warned they might not put much more cash into the North Sea production sector unless the government made the tax environment more attractive there.

The plain fact is big energy companies such as British Gas and big oil companies such as BP and Shell are riding high on the back of soaring commodity prices for minimal management effort, but which feed billions of pounds into their coffers.

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For the complete article go to…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/mar/05/oil.mining

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