March 22, 2005

They see a good thing -- profits and tax evasion in one

The New York Times notes today that "[a] spate of takeovers in the wind-energy business this year shows that large energy companies and investment banks are seeking to increase their holdings in wind power."

Scottish Power's American subsidiary, PPM Energy, has been buying up developers, most recently Atlantic Renewable Energy. As has AES Corporation (most recently Sea West Holdings). Today's news was that Goldman Sachs (yes, an investment banker, not an energy company) is buying Zilkha Renewable Energy. Another outfit, Noble Environmental Power, is owned by another banker, J.P. Morgan Chase. Britain's Airtricity is also getting active in the U.S., following France's Enxco, a subsidiary of nuclear powerhouse EDF.

According to Citizens for Tax Justice (340-KB PDF), FPL [Florida Power & Light] Group, parent of FPL Energy, the largest owner of wind energy in the U.S., paid no federal income taxes for 2002 and 2003 profits of $2.243 billion. In fact, they got tax refunds totaling $252 million. They were able to claim $1.276 billion just in accelerated depreciation.

Thar's gold in thim thar hills!

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