In the short run – until the Prime Minister presses the ‘Article 50’ legal button that will formally dis-unite the UK from the EU-bloc – there is no threat to British consumers or energy providers from Brexit.
That is the view of Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of Perth-based utility SSE, who has written to British Energy Minister Greg Clark outlining the company’s views on the implications for energy consumers following the clear vote for British Independence from the EU.
But if Scotland were to leave the EU as part of the United Kingdom ‘Brexit’ – EU-funding for the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre would sink without trace overnight.
Phillips-Davies said the three priorities for the UK government for the development of the post-Brexit Great Britain and Northern Ireland energy markets are to:
- Provide stability for future and existing UK energy investments by maintaining existing energy policy frameworks;
- Ensure continued security in UK energy supplies by retaining the ability to access and trade with European electricity and gas markets; and to:
- Enable Northern Ireland energy consumers to continue to benefit from market efficiencies by maintaining the Single Electricity Market and arrangements for gas.
Phillips-Davies commented: “Prrior to the British independence referendum we said that regardless of the result it would not present an immediate risk to how we serve our customers or our investment levels and that remains the case. We remain committed to our investment plans of around £5.5 billion between now and 2020.
“Indeed SSE is already investing heavily in Great Britain and Ireland through projects like the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Outer Moray Firth; rolling out smart meters for our customers throughout the UK; the Galway Wind Park in Ireland; and the Caithness-Moray Electricity Transmission line in the north east of Scotland.
“Few argue the GB and Ireland energy markets don’t need investment if they’re going to continue to maintain reliable, affordable and lower-carbon energy supplies and change is inevitable in our industry, more so given the result of June’s referendum.”