EXCLUSIVE: Practical Guide for Projects and Investors in Preparing for Renewables After Brexit

This is the title of an expert presentation by Munir Hassan, Head of Clean Energy, at CMS Cameron McKenna, the leading law firm.

You can get your copy of this guide by registering for the Renewables After Brexit conference, being held on Friday, 1 Dec 2017 in Dundee by clicking here: bit.ly/BuyNowRAB

Here Prof. PETER CAMERON provides an overview of the conference.

Scotland’s renewable energy sector is intimately linked to the rest of Europe in its corporate ownership links, the sale of its power and the purchase of its equipment and infrastructure.

Changes in the UK relationship to Europe will inevitably impact on Scotland whatever the form of Brexit and/or Scotland’s political future.

One key issue will be the degree of continuity or change evidenced by the UK renewables sector going forward.

Renewables After Brexit is not a meeting to discuss the form of Brexit or the pros and cons of it.

 

Rather, it is a sharing of knowledge to inform our conversation about Scotland’s energy future at a time of energy and political transition; a time when the next round of policy choices may well determine what the future will look like and indeed whether it has a future.

 

Scotland has already dealt with considerable policy uncertainty due to the current structure of devolution; as a part of the UK, the Scottish Government has only some devolved powers over renewable energy with the rest reserved to the UK Government.

This has led to increasing divergence between Scottish and UK policy, with Scotland arguably more aligned with the EU as a result.

With Brexit, all the policy-makers – at Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels – will have to review their commitments to renewable energy but, just as importantly, to subsidies, infrastructure and tariffs.

Investors – from the USA to China – will be weighing their options very carefully in light of the withdrawal arrangements. Contracting, supply chains, subsidies, financing and trading will all be affected. Uncertainty about costs will soon become a fact of life for the sector.

Yet policy support cannot simply dissolve into the mist. As the Paris Agreement on climate change takes effect, the commitments to the sector will continue from the EU, from Westminster and crucially from the Scottish Government in Holyrood.

To date, their policies have helped to change the economics and acceptability of renewable energy in ways no-one could have expected 10 years ago.

  • So, what should they be doing now to mitigate this uncertainty?
  • What form should further support for the sector take when EU support mechanisms cease?
  • What is the likely trend of EU policy on renewable energy as it plans to introduce a series of new measures across the member countries?
  • Will the EU be negative or retaliatory or will it be cooperative?

We invite you to join us in shaping the future conversation about Renewables After Brexit in Scotland.

Professor Peter Cameron, PhD FRSE FCIArb
Director, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy
School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee

Dundee University and its energy centre – the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy or CEPMLP – is part of this transition story. Set up at the start of the North Sea oil and gas boom, the Centre celebrates its 40th birthday in 2017.

It has been re-organising its course curriculum to reflect the new energy mix, and prepare its students to lead in a more diverse and complex multi-polar energy world.

Meanwhile, Richard Goodfellow, Partner and Head of Energy and Utilities Markets at Addleshaw Goddard, has warned that the UK feed-in tariff for renewable energy will end in April 2019 – when the UK leaves the EU bloc.

 He said: “While we had hoped that the Budget might set out some clear energy policy decisions, it seems the government’s focus is elsewhere – Brexit.”

Investors have been asking for certainty about what happens after the Levy Control Framework (which controls how much can be levied from consumer energy bills to support low carbon electricity projects) comes to an end in 2021.

A supporting document, Control for Low Carbon Levies, confirms that there will be no new low carbon electricity levies until the burden of such costs falls, which on current forecasts will not be before 2025.

Existing commitments under the Renewables Obligation, Feed in Tariffs and Contracts for Difference will continue to be honoured, as will the up to £557 million promised for future Contracts for Difference rounds.

But he added: “But there won’t be any new levies unless the aggregate of existing levies is forecast to have a sustained and significant fall in real terms; or new levies will have a net reduction effect on bills.

“This gives some comfort to investors as at least they now know where they stand for the next few years.

“But buried in a table in an Annex at the back of the supporting document is the worrying statement that the Feed in Tariff will close in April 2019 – mark that date in your calendars.”

 

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