Britain must work closely with EU over climate-change irrespective of Brexit, says Energy UK

Lawrence Slade, Energy UK, speaks at Renewables After Brexit conference at Dundee University
Lawrence Slade, Energy UK, speaking recently at the Renewables After Brexit conference at Dundee University

Energy UK – the trade association for gas and electricity retailers – has called for a comprehensive energy and climate chapter to be part of any future trade agreement with the EU in Brexit.

In its new position paper, Energy UK identifies three main areas the future UK–EU energy relationship should be based on maintaining

  • A close trade relationship through regulatory alignment with the Internal Energy Market
  • Maintain the Single Energy Market on the Island of Ireland and
  • Working closely together with the EU to tackle climate change.

Energy UK highlights that these principles are crucial to ensure the efficient trade of gas and electricity, maintain security of supply while keeping costs down for UK and EU consumers and businesses and to deliver our climate change targets.

Other priorities for the industry include maintaining a close association with Euratom, securing trade and customs arrangements that allow the free trade of energy parts and a sensible and proportionate migration system that does not inhibit the competitiveness of the industry.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK – a keynote speaker at the Renewables After Brexit conference held at Dundee University –  said:

“In order to keep costs down for UK customers and businesses, maintain security of supply and meet our climate targets it will be essential for the future EU-UK agreement to have a comprehensive energy and climate chapter and that we have participation in the Internal Energy Market.”

Meanwhile, the UK government has ignored stark warnings from the energy industry over the future of a key climate change scheme, according to documents obtained by the SNP  from Energy UK.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is the world’s biggest carbon market that sets a cap on 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.

New Freedom of Information requests reveal Energy UK and its Brussels-based EU counterpart – Eurelectric – called for an agreement in principle by October 2017 on the UK’s future involvement in ETS, and the International Emissions Trading Association warned that early agreement was “critical” to avoid leaving the many companies that “purchase carbon credits up to two to three years in advance” in limbo.

SNP MSP Mairi Gougeon said: “The UK is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the EU, the largest buyer of carbon permits in the ETS, and yet the Tory Government has repeatedly ignored the energy industry’s stark warnings about the need for clarity over our future involvement in emissions trading beyond March 2019.

“David Davis should be ashamed that companies have been left in limbo because he has delayed certainty for so long.

“Brexit is a lose-lose situation – if the UK remains in the ETS but leaves the EU we no longer get to make decisions on what the scheme entails, and if we leave the ETS, we will need to come up with an alternative that could take several years to implement. It is simply chaos upon chaos. Why do Brexiteers want to rip something apart only to try and rebuild an inferior alternative?

“Given that the ETS covers approximately 35% of the UK’s total emissions, it is ludicrous that industry hasn’t yet been given certainty about their future in the scheme.”

Scottish Energy News first revealed that Energy UK wants Britain to remain in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme; see also

Energy chiefs welcome reform of EU emissions trading scheme

5 Feb 2018

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