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Renewables Conference: Industry chief says energy relationship with Brussels won’t just stop after Brexit

Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade. Photography by Dundee University
Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade. Photography by Dundee University

The head of the UK energy industry’s trade body said today that the relationship between Britain and Brussels won’t be automatically severed after Brexit.

Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade is involved in the discussions around the future relationship between the UK and the EU post-Brexit.

Speaking at the Renewables After Brexit Conference at Dundee University today, Mr Slade pointed out how connected the UK is and will continue to be after Brexit.

He said: “No one should be under the impression that that energy relationship just ends. We are physically connected. The flows of gas are not going to stop post-Brexit. We are connected by hundreds of cables to each other.

“The EU has played a significant role in the UK’s energy policy and we have had a great role to play in theirs. Brussels is working on the principle that there is still much work to be done. We are part of the Energy Union and it wasn’t just designed for the European Union.”

Mr Slade said Brexit is a unique opportunity for Britain to specialise in certain renewable areas.

He said: “Why would Brexit mean stop? Why doesn’t it mean accelerate? Brexit gives us the opportunity to continue the conversation with the EU but to be standalone, experts in our own energy area.”

He feels taking a strong and proactive approach in discussions with the EU is the obvious way forward.

He said: “We are not taking Brexit lightly in terms of energy. The next 18 months will be absolutely key. What we want is an equal carbon price between the EU and UK.

“The more we can lead domestic policy the less Brexit becomes a problem. Look at what the Scottish Government is doing in terms of renewable energy – you’re starting to see where this can go.”

Slade pointed finally to the growing positivity around heat energy and electric vehicles as a particular area where Britain could flourish post-Brexit.

He said the sky was the limit in terms of UK development and trading technology and vehicle parts with the EU in future.

He said: “Electric vehicle sales should really accelerate – they’ll probably beat every target we have set for them”

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