Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Amber Rudd, gave a speech this week on the benefits of staying in the EU for the energy industry saying that energy co-operation remains at the heart of the Union.
Rudd said: “As the Energy Secretary, my first responsibility is to make sure that our families and businesses have the certainty of secure energy supplies that they can rely on…now and in the years ahead.
“Energy co-operation remains at the heart of the Union today. Whether it’s about making us collectively more energy secure, making energy cheaper, or dealing with the global issue of climate change.
“Over the next five years we intend to double our ability to import electricity with similar new connections to France, Belgium and Norway. And there are potential new projects with Denmark, Iceland and Ireland further down the track.
“These new connections alone could save British households nearly £12bn over the next two decades by driving down the price of electricity. They are the perfect example of how being in Europe helps to deliver energy security at home.
Rudd emphasised that in 2015 the UK imported almost half of our gas and that we are expected to import three quarters by 2030 even with the development of shale.
“We will have to continue to work with our closest neighbours to deliver energy security in the future. However you look at it, an internal energy market helps to guarantee our energy security. Which is the bedrock of our economic security.
“Even if we managed to negotiate to remain part of the internal market – on the lines of Norway – we would have to pay for access and have no say over the rules. This would be giving away power, not getting it back.
Rudd also highlighted the National Grid Brexit report which showed a risk of several hundred million pounds of higher investments costs for Uk energy infrastructure as a result of uncertainty.
“In 2014, direct investment in UK utility projects from elsewhere in the EU amounted to some £45bn. We win a third of all the EU’s renewable energy investment. And this investment creates jobs.
“Being in the EU helps us attract billions and billions of pounds of investment in our energy system and supply chain. Taken together, this investment helps support 660,000 jobs in the UK’s energy sector.
“A stable regime gives investors confidence. For them unfettered access to the EU single market of 500m people can make the difference between being merely a going concern and a booming business.
“Of course, the EU isn’t perfect. We have to continue to reform it to make sure that we are getting the best deal for the UK. In the EU, our future is stronger and more secure, and our families and businesses are better off.”