Lords ask No.10: Can Britain remain in the EU internal energy market after Brexit?

Members of the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee continue their inquiry into Brexit and Energy Security tomorrow (25 October 2017).

Lords will quiz Richard Harrington MP, Brit-Govt. Minister for Energy and Industry, on the Government’s vision for the UK’s future energy relationship with the EU, including future participation in the Internal Energy Market and post-Brexit arrangements for the energy market on the island of Ireland.

The 12-strong committee in the Lords includes two low-profile landed aristocrats, as well as Lord Selkirk, who – then known as Lord Jim Douglas-Hamilton – was a former Tory MP for Edinburgh West and Scottish Environment Minister in the Scotland Office last century.

The Duke of Montrose (aka James Graham) – who operates Montrose Estates Ltd from an office in Drymen, near Glasgow – is also Director of Kilsyth Ltd, a hydro-electric power developer, while the Earl of Stair (John Dalrymple) is a Borders land-owner and Director of the Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press.

Other questions likely to be raised by the Lords include:

  • Steps the Government will take to ensure the UK has access to the EU workers needed to construct and maintain its energy system
  • The impact of Brexit on consumers’ energy costs
  • Membership of the Internal Energy Market post-Brexit
  • Nuclear safeguarding and regulation
  • Steps the Government will take to ensure the UK can continue to participate in energy research projects with the EU, and how it can maintain a leading role in nuclear research.

Renewables AFTER Brexit: the stakes have never been higher

Be careful what EU wish for..Be careful what EU wish for..
Since the decision of the UK voters in the referendum in June 2016 to leave the European Union, a great deal has been written, said and speculated about Brexit.

For many businesses, lack of certainty over the outcome is having a very real effect right now on decision making, investment and jobs. Already direct inward investment into the UK has vanished since the Brexit referendum result.

The Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU matter enormously. Until they are resolved, there can be no clarity on commerce, law, or policy.

And if the Brexit negotiations are not resolved at all – the UK leaves the EU on 1 April 2019 when more than 40 years of EU law will be jettisoned overnight if the current British government does not its Brexit Bill passed by the Westminster parliament.

So the renewables sector – which now generates over half of Scotland’s electricity – urgently requires clarity on:

  • People – being able to attract and retain the right staff
  • Profit – being able to minimise extra cost burdens and to maximise income
  • Practicalities – being able to do business with certainty and a minimum of obstacles
  • Possibilities – being able to avoid missing out as the single market grows

For example, Energy UK – which represents SSE, Scottish Power and other Big Six utilities – wants to remain within the European Emissions Trading System.

Major German, Dutch and Spanish manufacturers may find it harder to sell their turbines into the UK after Brexit.

Atlantis Resources – a global developer of renewable energy projects with headquarters in Edinburgh – is also concerned about the state of the industry after Brexit.

Atlantis’s flagship tidal power project – MeyGen – is situated in the Inner Sound of Scotland’s Pentland Firth and is the world’s largest tidal stream array.

Nova Innovation, another Edinburgh-based tidal energy company has said that access to EU markets, supply chain and free movement of people, will have an impact on future success.

The European Union is an important source of financing for renewable projects, particularly tidal stream. Atlantis has been awarded both Horizon 2020 and NER300 funding from the European Commission as well as received offers of support from the European Investment Bank for future phases of their flagship MeyGen project.
They believe that should the UK remain in the EU single market they will be extremely well positioned to continue this success and benefit from future rounds of EU funding.

Ease of movement and access to markets are as critical as access to EU funding.

Atlantis has strategic partners in Belgium and France as well as suppliers across Europe, and employs a number of EU nationals who are technical experts in marine technology and whose skills and experience would be difficult to replace.

There are different views as to what is best for Scottish and and UK companies. But what must be clear to everyone is that because of Brexit, many choices have to be made, such as:

  • How best to prepare my company
  • Whether to cut back, invest or relocate; and, crucially,
  • What the renewables industry should negotiate for, both on the transition and beyond, with the Scottish and UK governments

The aim of this crucial Renewables AFTER Brexit conference is to look at the key issues from the point of view of businesses in tackling the ‘Brexit trilemma’ of law, policy and the environment.

This event is likely to be the key renewable energy conference of the year. The following industry experts are also due to speak:

  • Jorge Vasconcelos, Council of Europe Energy Regulators and EU Energy Roadmap 2050 Advisory Group
  • Munir Hassan, Head of Clean Energy, CMS Cameron McKenna; (“Practical steps and considerations for renewables projects and investors in preparing for Brexit”)
  • John Campbell, QC
  • Dave Pearson, Director, Star Renewable Energy
  • Mark Sommerfeld, Policy Analyst, Renewable Energy Association
  • Graham Provest, Managing Director, Absolute Solar and Wind Energy
  • Ian Dunsmore, Scottish Water Horizons
  • Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland
  • Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland
  • Dr. Leonie Reins, Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology & Society in The Netherlands: (Brexit and the implications for (European) energy and environmental law & the EU Emissions Trading Scheme)

Being held on 1 December 2017 at the University of Dundee, the conference is a joint venture between the University’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy and Scottish Energy News.
For more details, sponsorship opportunities and conference booking details: www.renewablesafterbrexit.co.uk

“To repeat what Poland’s former foreign minister said this week: the UK has a lot more to lose than the EU in these negotiations given that Britain is 15% of the EU’s trade,  and the EU is 47% of Britain’s trade.”

 

 

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