Leaving the pan-European Internal Energy Market (IEM) could raise energy bills and risk supply shortages, a House of Lords committee has warned. What is more, losing access to the specialist workers could put energy construction projects in doubt, and failing to manage a transition in the Euratom arrangements could “bring the UK’s civil nuclear industry to a halt.
The House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee’s report Brexit: energy security noted that the EU supplies 12% of the UK’s gas and 5% of electricity. The UK will have to trade energy with the EU, but outside the IEM it will be less efficient. Peer said the givernment must set out how it will work with the EU over supply shortages, and to assess the energy price impact of leaving the Internal Energy Market.
It said the government must ensure contingency arrangements are in place around the exit from Euratom and explore a Euratom-specific transition period separate from the wider Brexit process.
The committee also warned that
• Without access to specialist EU workers, there are serious concerns over whether the construction of new nuclear is feasible.
• Replacing EU funding is critical to ensuring sufficient infrastructure is in place (see p3).
• The UK’s influence of future energy policy is likely to be severely constrained and the government should conduct a “frank assessment” considering the difficulties faced by non-EU countries such as Switzerland and Norway.
Lord Teverson, chair of the sub-committee, said: “Over the course of the inquiry the Committee heard about the benefits of the UK’s current energy relationship with the EU, …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.”