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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

News

Brexit: energy security UK parliamentary report published with DEI contribution

(31 January 2018)

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has published its report on Brexit: energy security, looking at implications for energy supply, consumer costs and decarbonisation. Durham Energy Institute is quoted several times in the report on questions related to energy security, the Internal Energy Market, research collaboration, policy uncertainty and Euratom. The select committee report concludes that, post-Brexit, the UK may be more vulnerable to energy shortages and asks the Government to set out how it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage such conditions.

The select committee report in particular noted DEI’s statements highlighting:

  • “The UK cannot presently meet its own heat and power demands with existing indigenous supply,” page 10.
[Find out about our research to build indigenous capacity for generating our own heat and power through Geothermal, Wind, Solar, Nuclear fusion and energy storage www.durham.ac.uk/dei/research/ ]
  • “It is essential that mechanisms are put in place that allow UK research institutions and industry to continue to engage in collaborative pan-European research programmes and projects,” page 30.
[Examples of current pan-European energy projects DEI is engaged in include Smarter Grid: Empowering SG Market Actors through Information and Communication Technologies Securing the European Electricity against Malicious and accidental Threats (SESAME)PEOPLE: PEOple-centred development approaches in Practical and Learning Environments ]
  • Concerns that “a long drawn-out Brexit process with little clarity on the direction of energy policy will have a significant impact on investments from the private sector,” page 36.
  • And our statement that membership of Euratom was not a pre-requisite for involvement with ITER, but argued that it would “take time to build nation state level institutes to continue British participation in the project and this will be to our disadvantage,” page 50.
[Find out about Durham University’s involvement in the ITER nuclear fusion project www.durham.ac.uk/dei/research/fusion_energy/ ]

Key findings of select committee report

The report states that Brexit will put the UK's current frictionless trade in energy with the EU at risk. The Committee calls on Government to set out how it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage supply shortages, and to assess what impact leaving the Internal Energy Market would have on the price paid by consumers for their energy.

The Committee also heard that the UK's ability to build future nuclear generation sites, including Hinkley Point C, is in doubt if access to specialist EU workers is curtailed, and that failure to replace the provisions of the Euratom Treaty by the time the UK leaves the EU could result in the UK being unable to import nuclear materials.

The Committee found that EU investment has made a significant contribution to constructing and maintaining a secure energy system in the UK, and that replacing this funding will be critical to ensuring sufficient infrastructure is in place to enable future energy trading.

The report concludes that, post-Brexit, the UK may be more vulnerable to energy shortages in the event of extreme weather or unplanned generation outages, and asks the Government to set out how it will work with the EU to anticipate and manage such conditions.

This is the final report from the inquiry launched in July 2017 and the committee is currently awaiting a Government response to the report.

Durham Energy Institute statement on Brexit

The Durham Energy Institute statement on Brexit makes an urgent case for the UK Government to focus on energy priorities as part of the Brexit negotiations and decision-making process. The statement draws on the expertise of energy researchers across Durham University from different disciplines and energy specialisms.

The DEI Brexit statement calls for:

1. A consistent, long-term energy policy must be developed based on an open debate about whether the UK should aim to develop a more independent UK energy sector;

2. Increased investment in research and development for energy storage;

3. Increased emphasis on exploiting indigenous low-carbon energy sources, particularly heat and wind;

4. Incorporation of ambitious energy efficiency and energy demand reduction directives into UK policy framework

5. A reset and push towards smart-grid development plans; and

6. Measures to safeguard collaborative developments in energy.

The statement reflects the breadth of energy expertise at DEI and includes contributions from Prof Jon Gluyas (Director of DEI & Earth Sciences), Prof Simon Hogg (Engineering), Prof Tooraj Jamasb (Business School), Dr Douglas Halliday (Physics), Dr Duncan ConnorsDr Chris Donaghy-SpargoDr Hongjian Sun , Dr Manuel LlorcaDr Rui Carvalho and Evelyn Tehrani (DEI). 

Read the DEI Statement on Brexit and its implications for UK Energy 

Read the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee report on Brexit and Energy security