Brexit: energy security Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Energy and Brexit

1.The UK’s energy industry supplies over 26 million homes and businesses with energy, provides employment for over 619,000 people and adds £83 billion to the economy.1 The UK’s withdrawal from the EU could have a substantial impact upon that industry, for a number of reasons:

This inquiry

2.This inquiry, one of a series of Brexit-related inquiries conducted by the EU Committee and its six sub-committees since the June 2016 referendum, evaluates key issues for energy security that the Government will need to consider before or immediately after the UK withdraws from the EU.

3.The UK’s energy sector undertakes a wide range of activities, from extracting oil from the North Sea to installing domestic heat pumps. This report does not address the implications of Brexit on the entire sector, but focuses on the ability of the energy industry to ensure secure supplies of gas and electricity and deliver them to UK consumers post-Brexit. We do not address the implications of Brexit for the supply of oil to the UK, because oil consumption in the energy sector is relatively low compared to gas and electricity.6

4.For the purposes of this report, ‘energy security’ is taken to mean the UK’s ability to ensure secure energy supplies for UK consumers, at a reasonable cost, while also decarbonising the energy system.

5.We acknowledge that a single policy will often have implications for both energy and climate change. In this report we therefore address specific issues relating to climate change policy where they affect the UK’s ability to maintain secure energy supplies post-Brexit. More general climate change policies, such as those relating to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, were considered in our report Brexit: environment and climate change.7

6.The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, whose members are listed in Appendix 1, met in September and October 2017 to take evidence for this inquiry. It also visited the National Grid Control Centre in Wokingham to inform its understanding of energy system management both within and beyond the UK.

7.We are grateful to those who gave oral evidence and to those who responded to our targeted request for written contributions, all of whom are listed in Appendix 2.

8.We make this report to the House for debate.

1 Written evidence from Energy UK (BES0024)

2 Written evidence from Ofgem (BES0025)

3 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ‘UK Energy in Brief 2017’ (2017) p 10: [accessed 16 November 2017]

4 Ibid., p 25

5 See Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ‘Annex L: Total electricity generating capacity: Updated Energy & Emissions Projections 2017’: (2 January 2018): [accessed 16 January 2018]

6 In this context ‘the energy sector’ includes energy consumption by domestic, industry, commercial and public users. Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ‘Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES), ‘Chapter 1: Energy’, (2017) Table 1.1: [accessed 16 January 2018]

7 European Union Committee, Brexit: environment and climate change (12th Report, Session 2016–17, HL Paper 109)

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