Singer-songwriter Björk Gudmundsdottir has become the unofficial leader of opposition to the Canadian takeover of a key power plant in her native Iceland. The geothermal power producer HS Orka hf was scooped up by the Swedish arm of Vancouver company Magma Energy during Iceland’s banking crisis in 2009 when a plunge in the island nation’s currency made foreign investment very attractive. Björk is not alone in her opposition—17,000 voters have signed a petition demanding the deal be reversed and 85 per cent of respondents to a July 21-28 Gallup poll agreed they “would like to regain the rights to their energy source.” “Why not let the people of Iceland decide?” Björk told Bloomberg News. “We are asking the government to stop the sale and organize a national referendum on how Icelanders feel about whether access to their energy sources should be privatized or not.” Magma offered to sell a majority stake in the power plant to Iceland’s government on August 21. Industry Minister Katrin Juliusdottir said she is now examining the offer.
Monday, August 23, 2010