Brexit puts UK energy security in peril, Lord’s report warns

Power transmission lines run from an electricity pylon in Braintree, U.K., on Wedenesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Britain's business lobby groups said that Labour leader Ed Miliband opposition's proposal to break up the "Big Six" utilities and cap power prices threatens the investment needed to avoid blackouts by the end of the decade. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Utilities news

A report by the House of Lords EU energy and environment sub-committee has warned that the UK’s exit from the EU makes the country more vulnerable to energy supply shortages.

In a report published today on Brexit and Britain’s energy future, the report cautions that the UK could become more susceptible to supply shortages or generation outages and almost certainly stung with higher bills.

The Lord’s report also found that the energy industry’s reliance on foreign workers could result in a skills shortage and a potential stretch on services.

The skills shortage will be particularly problematic within the UK nuclear sector, the Lord’s claim.

The report is calling for a significant transition period to deal with the possible issues the UK exit from the EU could cause the energy sector.

The report’s conclusions stated: ‘Post-Brexit, the UK may be more vulnerable to supply shortages in the event of extreme weather or unplanned generation outages. While we note the Minister’s confidence in future UK energy security, we urge the Government to set out the means by which it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage cross-continent supply shortages that will affect the UK.

‘It is likely that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will lead to less efficient energy trade, which could in turn increase the price paid by consumers for energy security. We call on the Government to conduct and publish an assessment of what impact leaving the Internal Energy Market would have on the price paid by consumers for their energy, and to take steps to mitigate this impact, particularly for financially vulnerable consumers.

‘The energy industry is reliant on workers from the EU, in particular to fill its engineering roles. These workers are necessary for the construction and maintenance of a secure energy system. While we encourage the Government to pursue opportunities to train more workers domestically, this will take time, and continued access to EU workers will be needed in the meantime. (Paragraph 47)

‘Dependence on EU workers is particularly acute in the nuclear energy sector. The evidence from EDF Energy is clear that without access to EU labour it will be difficult to complete construction of the new nuclear power facility at Hinkley Point.’