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Ryan in carbon pinch

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan intends imposing a temporary Carbon Windfall Levy on profits earned by electricity suppliers from free carbon credits.

Electricity generators have been provided free carbon credits in preparation for full carbon-trading post-2012, but are profiting from the fact that customers are paying full price.

The tax is expected to raise €75m a year but it will be dropped in three years' time, when power companies will have to carry the full cost of emissions themselves and will have to buy carbon credits on the open market.