At SmartGPower, we have identified what impacts may have on UK’s energy industry post EU exit. The following points are discussed briefly here in this article.
- Future energy Interconnectors:
Power interconnectors to France and the Netherlands and gas pipelines to Belgium and Netherlands would remain in operation, regardless of Britons decision on EU referendum. TSO (Transmission System Operator) of UK has to talk with its French counterparts under any political scenario. However, further strengthening of energy security with proposals of few more power interconnectors to France, Ireland and Belgium may be reassessed on EU exit. Also, in the event of exit from EU, NG-UK will still remain a member of ENTSO-E (European member of transmission network operator) like other non-EU members (Switzerland and Norway); assuring UK’s influence for the development of technical standards in the future. All in all, technically it does not make much difference on the ground whatever the outcome of the referendum would be.
- Renewables targets:
Even if UK exits from EU, 2020 renewables target (of 15%) is an absolute binding, so remained unaltered. A combine target of (27%) renewables energy output from EU member states by 2030 is not an absolute binding to UK, so makes litter difference. However UK may pursue more flexible approach towards renewable target post 2020. By that time, perhaps mass energy storage technology would be ready for commercialisation, facilitating the integrating of renewables further into energy value chain. UK can build its energy mix by promoting marginal renewable technologies (solar/wind) and energy storage at its own pace, free from any EU deadlines. Concluding above, it hardly makes any difference whether Britons vote to stay in or out of EU on renewable targets.
- Free flow of Skilled labours:
UK is facing a wider skill gap in energy sector, which includes but not limited to field operational staffs, SAP (Senior Authorised Person), Design/Planning Engineers and Project Management capabilities. As an EU member state, UK benefits from free flow of skilled labours in EEA. Having boundary restrictions in place, skill labours from EEA countries may not be easily accessible on demand.
Under NEWSAC agreement, DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) could voluntarily share skilled field staffs and other resources during server weather events. Field crews could be mobilized in advance of the event based on weather warnings to keep lights on. The NEWSAC opportunities to share resources should be effectively planned across UK DNO. However, Electricity outages were lasted as long as five days during severe weather events of December 2013 in several parts of southern England. This situation could have been avoided should resources been shared with neighbouring countries. Free flow of skilled operational staff within EU is a paramount importance for UK’s utilities to combat to the exceptional circumstances. Utilities should review their options carefully ahead of the referendum on skill shortage.
Concluded the above, a blue print of energy policy should be comprehensive enough, assuring self-reliance on most major fronts.