“Little benefit” in keeping targets after Brexit says energy firm

Centrica has urged the government to drop its EU mandated carbon reduction and renewable energy targets when it publishes its Great Repeal Bill.

In its response to the BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) select committee’s ongoing inquiry into the ramifications of EU withdrawal on energy and climate change policy, the British Gas parent company says there is “little benefit” in preserving the EU targets in the Great Repeal Bill that will translate the bulk of existing EU law into British legislation.

“Our base case assumption is that these should fall away when we leave the EU, unless otherwise agreed,” says the response.

For example, Centrica says that the UK is on course to miss its main 2020 renewable energy target, while the UK’s fifth carbon budget, which covers the 2028-2032 period, is “significantly more ambitious” than the EU’s 2030 own carbon abatement target.

It says the targets should only be retained if they can useful bargaining chips for the wider Brexit negotiations.

More broadly though, Centrica’s submission calls for the bill to “largely” save into UK law existing internal IEM legislation and regulations in order to avoid bespoke energy transitional arrangements post 2019.

And it also says that the “key issue” for the government post-Brexit will be to ensure that UK and EU cross-border energy trading rules remain as consistent as possible.

However, while it urges the government to adopt the “vast majority” of existing rule changes, Centrica says the UK should retain the right to apply an “emergency brake” in order to opt out of IEM requirements that would be “significantly detrimental” to Britain’s energy market.

In a separate submission to the inquiry, the Chatham House security think tank expresses concerns that the UK will no longer be able to rely on access to EIB (European Investment Bank) funds once Article 50 has been triggered.

Chatham House tells the committee that EIB has played a key role in financing new technology, and larger deals, noting that until recently offshore wind projects would have been unable to cross the line without

It adds that projects of common interest, such as interconnectors, also benefit from access to EU funds.


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