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Nuclear giant British Energy to retain involvement in wind
1 November 2002
Beleaguered nuclear giant British Energy claims it intends to retain its involvement in wind energy, despite its financial difficulties. The company, which is only avoiding insolvency thanks to a £650 million government bail out, is a development partner in two wind projects: a proposal for a 600-1000 MW development of 300 turbines on Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland; and an offshore wind farm of 30 turbines in the North Sea off England's east coast. British Energy has been lobbying government to exempt nuclear-generated electricity from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) -- a tax on the business use of energy -- which would save the company between £80 million and £100 million a year. Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt, however, says she "has no plans" to change CCL rules, reports electronic news service Environment Daily. The levy is not a carbon tax, she says, adding that exempting nuclear would reduce incentives on business to use electricity efficiently. Meantime, the Belgian government has complained to the EC about the UK government's £650 million loan to British Energy -- and Greenpeace and renewable energy supplier Ecotricity have begun legal action to stop the loan, saying it breaches EU law governing state aid to industry.
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