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How Brexit will complicate UK electricity markets: ‘it’s an interesting and difficult dilemma’

amy gahran | greentech media | 8 july 2016 

To read the full article in Greentech Media click here.

PA's Liz Parminter, Olaf Remmler and Samuel Ebohon, U.K. energy and utilities experts, are quoted in an article in Greentech Media. The article discusses the impact of Brexit on U.K. electricity markets.

Commenting on this further, Liz explains: Most concerning is the security of energy supply. If the U.K. does not get the investment needed for generation and transmission interconnection, we could be in a bit of a pickle.” 

Olaf also weighs in, stating: “If this plant comes online, it will be the largest generation asset in Great Britain. The GB system operator is already taking this capacity into account for its long-term resource planning as compensating for its loss would be extremely challenging.”

Olaf continues: “In the absence of planned interconnection, security of supply gets challenging. Perhaps more gas-fired power plants would be built, since the U.K. has good access to natural-gas resources. Or there might be an accelerated shift toward renewables. Either way, there would be substantial impacts to grid infrastructure.”

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Samuel adds: The entry point for investment in U.K. infrastructure has been lowered by a significantly weaker pound versus the dollar and euro following the Brexit result. The U.K. government has reiterated its commitment to continuing to strive to meet its legally binding climate goals. This will require significant investment - even greater levels of investment - if the U.K. is unable to increase the level of interconnection with Europe.”

Samuel continues: “Given infrastructure that U.K. utilities need to build, they’ll need large numbers of skilled construction workers to deliver these assets. That’s not something that you can just teach somebody quickly; the welders, pipefitters, and other tradespeople need to already have experience and specialized skills. U.K. utilities have not been as active in infrastructure deployment, so they probably don’t currently have the internal capability to deliver on construction.

Liz concludes: “They rely on interconnection through Great Britain for most of their energy supply, and now they may not be able to couple with the EU market through the U.K. So, how can they remain in a market that they have no way to access? It’s an interesting and difficult dilemma.”

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