Energy reviewed in Brexit white paper

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The government’s white paper on ‘Brexit’, titled ‘The United Kingdom’s exit from and partnership with the EU’, has now been published.

The paper includes information on the energy issues it sees as pertinent to the process and the UK.

A broad statement says there are three ‘UK wide’ networked services that interact widely with the EU:

  1. transport;
  2. communications; and
  3. energy.

These are regarded as ‘key enablers’ for the economy to function successfully.

European energy interconnectors

The document highlights the coordinated trading arrangements for gas and electricity. This is through interconnectors between the UK and both EU member states and European Economic Area (EEA) members.

The document focusses on the benefits between the UK and the EU/EEA members, including lower energy prices, reduced need for domestic backup supplies and helping balance demands on power networks as intermittent renewable electricity generation increases. The paper also highlights a particular concern with interconnection and trading arrangements across Ireland, stating:

“We are considering all options for the UK’s future relationship with the EU on energy, in particular, to avoid disruption to the all-Ireland single electricity market operating across the island of Ireland, on which both Northern Ireland and Ireland rely for affordable, sustainable and secure electricity supplies.”

Nuclear arrangements

The paper also confirms the government’s intention to leave the Euratom Treaty which provides the legal framework around civil nuclear power and radioactive waste management across the Euratom community. This includes all EU member states and also third party countries such as the US. It adds:

“…we want to collaborate with our EU partners on matters relating to science and research, and nuclear energy is a key part of this. So our precise relationship with Euratom, and the means by which we cooperate on nuclear matters, will be a matter for the negotiations – but it is an important priority for us – the nuclear industry remains of key strategic importance to the UK and leaving Euratom does not affect our clear aim of seeking to maintain close and effective arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, safeguards, safety and trade with Europe and our international partners.”

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