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What would Brexit mean for Solar in the UK?

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Article by BPVA on 20 April 2016

europe

The UK in the EU – Stay or Leave? 

Freedom from EU could lead UK to ‘reverse key UK environment and climate laws and practices’. Brexit would mean less EU regulation on Oil and Gas industries in the North Sea – more oil and gas, less renewable energy.

‘the nature of the outcome in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote is not clear’ – A ‘Leave’ vote would create additional uncertainty in the industry.

The UK solar industry currently benefits from ‘the collective approaches to decarbonisation and energy security’ within the EU.

Would Brexit mean the end of green targets?

  • The EU Renewable Energy Directive is why the government has backed the rapid expansion of renewable power generation so far – it seems unlikely that renewable energy would remain a priority without EU enforcement, recent policy changes such as scrapping the zero carbon homes target show that buildings energy efficiency is not quite on top of the political agenda right now.
  • “Post-2020, Brexit appears unlikely to make a difference to UK energy policy – because Britain’s own unilateral Climate Change Act actually imposes even tougher requirements for cutting carbon emissions.’

Brexit: The view from energy, mutuals, and a legal expert

  • EU funding is useful for community energy projects – EU also sets good examples of these projects.
  • On the other hand, ‘EU directives had also caused the community energy sector some problems and there are some cons from association with the EU, such as complicated EU State Aid rules, which take a very long time to make, and minimum import prices of solar panels’
  • ‘The standards for regulating financial services, for instance will still be made at a European level, so we need to ensure we are part of the decision making process.’

Brexit could create renewable energy ‘paradox’

  • Ballantyn pointed out that “It’s a huge paradox that Brexit could result in a system where it is easier to develop renewables infrastructure in the UK, but no strong incentive to make it happen.” (Pinsent Masons planning specialist Jennifer Ballantyn)
  • The UK’s renewable energy industry could be harmed by Brexit with the loss of incentives to develop a low-carbon economy

What could BREXIT mean for the Sustainable Energy sector

  • The UK’s ‘relationship with product standards development would almost certainly evolve and could be of significantly reduced influence as we are forced to take or leave new standards.’
  • ‘Without this international driver for renewable energy we might expect future UK Governments to focus on cost-effectively reducing emissions (our commitments in the Climate Change Act and Carbon Budgets originated in the UK) rather than renewables.’
  • Innovation funding for companies and academic institutions will left in the hands of the UK government without the EU’s framework programme for funding and research – could lead to UK government having greater influence or a reduction in innovation funding.

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