A Scottish power chief has called for the UK and EU to continue to collaborate on delivering large, ambitious energy projects for mutual benefit – irrespective of British Independence from the EU bloc.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of Perth-based utility SSE, said that whether you are a Leaver or Remainer it is in the long-term strategic interest of Britain that there is a genuine energy market across Europe.
Larger, integrated energy markets, whether on the island of Ireland or across Europe deliver tangible benefits for households and businesses alike. The rationale for a deep, comprehensive and collaborative energy relationship with the EU is not economic alone, but critical if we are to decarbonise our economy.
He explained: “The UK and its energy industry is accustomed to not only managing, but leading change. This year the Climate Change Act turns a decade old, a remarkable cross-party achievement that put the UK at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change.
“Policymakers and the energy industry are working to make the ambitions of that Act into a reality. And it is working. National Grid statistics reveal 2017 was the UK’s greenest year on record, and we enjoyed the first day since the industrial revolution where coal was not required for our electricity needs.
“For me, the key principle of the new UK-EU energy relationship should be collaboration.
“The UK has not shied away from leading on climate change, and should continue to work with the EU in leading international efforts.
“Carbon pricing is a key and practical instrument, and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), is the largest emissions trading scheme in the world. Continued UK participation in the EU ETS following Brexit should be welcomed from all sides of the negotiation table.
“The North Sea, which we perhaps associate more closely with the oil and gas industry, has unfulfilled renewable energy potential that should be harnessed. SSE is seeking to develop offshore wind farms in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea, delivering nearly 4GW of power capacity.
“There is potential to connect and provide power between the UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. Working with our European colleagues we can make the North Sea low-carbon grid a reality.
“Schemes such as the Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020 can provide support and funding opportunities for ambitious projects. So effective co-operation on energy between the UK and countries on mainland Europe can only help gets projects like this ‘off the seabed’.
“These are complex matters, but the sooner the parties to the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship on energy are able to agree a way forward, the better it will be for efforts to take forward the next stages in decarbonising our economy.”
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