The SNP has raised fresh concerns over the uncertainty surrounding Scotland’s future involvement in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme that has helped Scotland’s industries reduce emissions – and thereby helping to achieve ambitious domestic climate change goals.
The EU ETS sets a cap on the total emissions from electricity generation and enables UK industries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas, which is often a cheaper alternative to reducing operational emissions directly.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe have penned a joint letter to the UK Government seeking urgent discussions on future involvement in the ETS.
Graeme Dey MSP said: “There has been a characteristic lack of clarity and lack of engagement from the Tory government on our future involvement in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme throughout negotiations with the EU – despite the fact emissions trading is a devolved issue.
“The EU’s carbon market ensures a level playing field that allows energy intensive industries in Scotland to determine how to decarbonise in a cost effective way. This has consequently helped us to deliver our goal of a 42% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.
“Given that the ETS covers approximately 35% of the UK’s total emissions, it’s ludicrous that industry hasn’t yet been given certainty about the future of emissions trading.
“The Scottish Government is in the middle of proposing new legislation to raise our green ambitions in light of the Paris agreement, however, 16 months on from the vote to leave the EU we still have no clarity on the future of ETS.
“Once more, the SNP is calling for clarity and the opportunity to discuss the option to stay in the EU’s ETS, which is the most cost-effective way for our trading industries to reduce their emissions.”
Scot-Govt rallies Welsh and N. Ireland assembly allies over ‘unacceptable risks’ of Brit-Govt energy Brexit from EU emissions trading scheme
Renewables AFTER Brexit keynote conference:
The stakes have never been higher
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.
- 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, UK 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.”