Energy White Paper: now due ‘this year’

The long-promised energy White Paper has been delayed by turnover in secretaries of state at BEIS, according to comments by Dave Buttery, deputy director of energy security at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), speaking at a National Grid Gas meeting on the future of gas.

Buttery said the White Paper would be “published this year”. It will try to take a ‘whole systems’ approach covering electricity and gas, he said, “it’s an energy White Paper, not an electricity White Paper”, and will include next steps on a low carbon heat.

Speaking about the potential effects of Brexit on gas, Buttery said “Nothing has changed in gas trading so far, and will not until the start of next year.” The only change so far is that the UK no longer sits on EU bodies that affect its markets.

He said on continuity in gas markets GB was in a “comfortable position”, as earlier planning for a ‘no deal’ exit had considered contracts and trading relationships would be maintained.

Further in the future, we want “a broad energy relationship. We have left the EU but not Europe and we will be an active player,” Buttery said. He added, “We want an active relationship with the EU so we can influence it and so as a continent we continue to decarbonise in the most efficient way.”

He noted that a gas decarbonisation package due for publication by the EU has slipped to 2021 but said when it is published it will have fundamental effects on the UK as a close trading partner.