Scots energy chief joins Euro-power giants in new call for close UK-EU links after Brexit

A Scots utility giant is among a coalition of 21 EU counterparts and top investors which have called on the UK the EU to maintain close links on energy and climate policy after British Independence from the EU bloc.

The EU and UK should seek a “deep level of cooperation” on climate and energy policy, similar to what is being envisaged on defence and foreign policy after the UK leaves, said the signatories of a joint letter sent to Brexit negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier.

“We welcome the intention for prioritisation of security and defence in the negotiations and also urge you to expand this commitment to combatting climate change,” the coalition said in the joint letter, dated 20 April.

Along with A. Phillips-Davies, chief exec of Pearth-based SSE, signatories include investment giant Aviva, which has a market capitalisation of £21 billion (€23.97 billion). It also includes the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), a group of 150 activist investors with over €21 trillion in assets, as well as five of Europe’s largest energy companies: NPower, RWE, EDF, and E.ON.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has posed a daunting list of questions to the energy sector.  These cover trade law and tariffs, as well as nuclear safety and the UK’s continued membership of the EU emissions trading system for greenhouse gases.

A report published last year by the Boston Consulting Group and two other advisory firms mapped out those challenges and stressed the need for a transitional arrangement to smooth the path to Brexit.

Tom Glover, UK chief of Germany generating giant RWE, and Paul Coffey, UK boss of Germany’s N-Power UK, are among the co-signatories.

Alistair Phillips-Davies
Alistair Phillips-Davies

The SSE chief – and other signatories – said: “The integration of energy markets and climate policies across Europe has enhanced energy and climate security and reduced energy bills in the UK and the EU 27,” calling on Brexit negotiators to “ensure that these benefits continue in the future.

“Maintaining work on climate and energy security, including safeguarding the Paris Agreement on climate change should be top of the agenda on both sides of the channel..

“To ensure this is achieved, we call on you, in the Brexit negotiations, to develop a comprehensive Climate and Energy Chapter, which covers both trade and non-trade issues.”

Sir Philip Lowe, a former Director General at the European Commission’s energy directorate, warned that leaving the EU’s single energy market, will add pressure on Britain to invest more in new electricity generating capacity, pay higher prices – arguably with less security of supply – and accept a bigger role for the state in the energy sector.”

Industry observers have noted with curiosity that Spanish power giant Iberdrola – which owns Glasgow-based British energy provider Scottish Power, has never publicity commented on Brexit.

 

30 Apr 2018

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