Withdrawal from the European Union’s internal energy market (IEM) would be a “bad thing”, business secretary Greg Clark has admitted.
Under cross-examination by the House of Commons BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) select committee, Clark said it was “very much in our interest to continue to participate in the internal energy market”.
Responding to a pre-EU referendum prediction by then-energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd that withdrawal from the IEM would collectively cost UK consumers £500m, Clark said: “It would be a bad thing if that (the IEM) were to be disrupted.”
But he added that the EU and the UK shared “substantial common ground and common interest” in avoiding a break-up of the IEM.
And Clark told the committee that the UK’s expertise in energy market matters would continue to be a potentially valuable resource for its erstwhile EU partners to draw on.
“It is not necessarily the case that we would not continue to contribute where we have things to contribute in a constructive way.”
And he said there was “no question” that the interconnectors, which link the UK to the rest of the EU energy market.
Climate change minister Nick Hurd told the committee the work on the government’s emission reduction plan (ERP) is stuck in a “holding pattern” following yesterday’s snap general election announcement by prime minister Theresa May.
He said work on the ERP, which he hoped would be rebadged as the clean growth plan when it is published, was “relatively well advanced”.
Hurd said the process of formulating the plan had been “fantastically complex and challenging”, involving “quite significant unknowns”, many of which stemmed from last summer’s referendum result.
Both ministers appeared before the committee in the last of a series of evidence sessions to inform its investigation into the impact of Brexit on UK energy and climate change policy.