Brexit could drive up energy bills, power companies have said, because trade barriers threaten to increase the cost of importing gas and electricity across the Channel. EDF and Engie of France and the UK’s energy industry body urged politicians to avoid imposing tariffs or barriers on energy trading across borders. In a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, and UK prime minister Theresa May, they said imposing costs on the use of interconnectors – electricity and gas cables between the UK and its European neighbours – would hit consumers and set back the battle against global warming. The free flow of energy across interconnectors was necessary to keep “a level playing field that keeps costs down for consumers and ensures decarbonisation and security of supply,” the groups said. Interconnectors currently account for 6% of British power supplies, but that share is soon expected to rise to a fifth. The UK is viewed in Brussels as a progressive contributor to EU climate change policy. The letter also voiced concerns that any impact on interconnectors could hit the fight against global warming, because they are seen as useful for balancing energy supplies by guaranteeing a source of power when wind or solar power are not available. Imposition of cross-border electricity tariffs also poses a possible existential risk to the Irish single electricity market between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the letter said. Whitehall has drawn up plans to send electricity generators on barges to Northern Ireland should the market collapse as a result of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. The intervention by major energy firms on Tuesday echoes earlier warnings from a House of Lords committee and energy professionals that adding friction to energy trading between the UK and EU could push up household bills. The risk of such a scenario has become much greater with the increased possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
Guardian 4th Sept 2018 read more »
Any final Brexit agreement should contain a specific chapter on energy and climate change co-operation between the UK and the EU, business leaders have demanded today in an open letter sent to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. The letter, signed by executives from utilities such as EDF and Engie, as well as consumer goods giant Unilever and a host of investors and industry bodies, calls on the two parties to reach an agreement that promotes close on-going co-operation between the UK and the EU as they both seek to tackle climate and energy challenges.
Business Green 4th Sept 2018 read more »
Ministers are “deliberately weakening” the green watchdog that will hold the government to account after Britain leaves the EU, according to Labour’s shadow Brexit minister. Theresa May pledged last January to create a “world-leading, independent, statutory body” to ensure ministers stick to their commitments – replacing the power of the European Commission to take governments to the European court of justice (ECJ) for not fulfilling their obligations. Yet the UK watchdog will not have any powers relating to climate change, an issue of heightened public concern since the summer heatwave that has seen wildfires in the north of England and outbreaks of tropical diseases in parts of Europe.
Edie 3rd Sept 2018 read more »