Jobs boost in energy sector as Centrica commits to greener future

Centrica will create 1,500 ‘green collar’ jobs ahead of investing more than £15bn by 2020 in new energy technologies.

The energy giant, which owns British Gas, said yesterday it plans to grow in the offshore wind, nuclear generation, gas production and gas storage markets over the next decade. This year it will create thousands of new jobs to meet customer demands to be more energy-efficient and use greener energy in their homes.

Despite the firm’s preliminary results for the year ending December 2008 showing operating profits down slightly to £1.9bn and net profit dipping below £1bn, falling 20% to £903m, Centrica confirmed it had acquired Baird gas field for £1.2bn for a gas storage project in the North Sea. It was also continuing talks with French energy supplier EDF to buy a 25% stake in the business.

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive, said yesterday: “The financial performance in 2008 was good despite a much tougher environment, and we made strong progress against the strategic priorities we set out at the start of 2007.

“Looking forward we plan to create around 1,500 new skilled, mainly ‘green collar’, roles across British Gas to help meet our customers’ desire to make their homes more energy efficient. While the overall economic climate in 2009 is clearly very challenging, the operational and structural progress we have made over the last two years has strengthened the group and positioned us well to continue to invest for our customers and our shareholders.”

Rising fuel prices pushed Centrica’s overall revenues up 31% to £21.3bn.

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