Brexit to take its toll on EU-UK energy security

EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

A view of a power plant outside Nottingham, Britain, January 26, 2018.

Committee calls on the UK government to set out how it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage supply shortages, energy prices


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Brexit will put the UK’s current frictionless trade in energy with the EU at risk, according to a report published by the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee posted on the UK Parliament’s website.

The report that was released on January 29 focuses on the effects of Brexit on energy security, looking at implications for energy supply, consumer costs and decarbonisation.

The Committee calls on the British government to set out how it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage supply shortages, and to assess what impact leaving the Internal Energy Market would have on the price paid by consumers for their energy, the UK Parliament said.

“Individuals and businesses across the UK depend on a reliable and affordable supply of energy,” Committee Chair Lord Teverson said. “In recent years, the UK has achieved such a supply in partnership with the EU, working with the other Member States to make cross-border trade in energy easier and cheaper,” he added.

According to Teverson, over the course of the inquiry, the Committee heard benefits of the UK’s current energy relationship with the EU, and the Minister acknowledged these benefits when he stated his hope that Brexit would result in as little change as possible.

“It remains unclear, however, how this can be achieved, without remaining in the single market, IEM and the other bodies that develop and implement the EU’s energy policy,” he said.

The Committee also heard that Britain’s ability to build future nuclear generation sites, including Hinkley Point C, is in doubt if access to specialist EU workers is curtailed or if London fails to replace the provisions of the Euratom Treaty by the time the UK leaves the EU.

Both could result in the UK being unable to import nuclear materials.

The Committee found that EU investment has made a significant contribution to constructing and maintaining a secure energy system in the UK and that replacing this funding will be critical to ensuring sufficient infrastructure is in place to enable future energy trading.

The report concludes that, post-Brexit, the UK may be more vulnerable to energy shortages in the event of extreme weather or unplanned generation outages, and asks the Government to set out how it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage such conditions.

 

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