Analyses & Studies

The risks to the UK energy supply

Alexander Temerko, Director of Aquind Interconnector, underlines the importance for the UK to remain in the European Internal Energy Market

If there is a single essential issue on Europe's re-industrialisation agenda, it is the maintenance and development of the Internal Energy Market (IEM). The European Union’s measures to harmonise and liberalise the energy market, known as the IEM, seek to achieve the long-term security of electricity and gas supply, including market access, transparency and regulation. Indeed, the IEM is a vital tool for protecting consumers against energy prices spiralling out of control – particularly in the UK. It is also fundamental to decision-making for private investment into generation and transmission, providing a unique position for renewables and a secure marketplace without the need to scale back and reinstate capacity. It is a framework that allows development of the most cost-efficient technological solutions that can offer the best positive effect on the energy markets, which in turn improves the competitiveness of French, UK and generally EU manufacturers on the global market.  On the diplomatic stage, the IEM significantly contributes to the balance of trade between neighbouring countries and is largely a factor of confidence among states, business partners and financial structures. Ultimately, the IEM is a powerful institution which supports the decarbonisation of the European economy and the global environmental movement.

The Brexit question

There are some encouraging signs that the UK is likely to remain in the IEM. One important signal came in 
2018 when President Macron, a vocal supporter of increasing private investment in European infrastructure projects, signed a communique with the UK Prime Minister to support the development of interconnectors between France and the UK. AQUIND Interconnector, a project my company develops, aside from being a successful business venture, is a major European infrastructure project, holding EU Project of Common Interest status since 2018. It is by far the largest France-UK interconnection project currently in construction, with the capacity to transmit 3 percent of French energy consumption, and 5 percent of British energy consumption, between the two countries. In the context of this project, the ability to resolve regulatory issues between France and the UK, should they arise, will indicate the potential for developing mutually beneficial trade relations and securing investment. 

Spearheading innovation

This month, AQUIND submitted a regulatory request to the national energy regulators to allow operation of the project. The analysis which underlays this request demonstrates socio-economic billions of pounds of benefits for both England and France, including benefits for Germany and Spain. We have also started a public procurement tender of the equipment required to progress the project to the construction stage. Major manufacturers and engineering companies from Europe are participating in the procurement and construction tenders for this major 
2,000 MW interconnector project. Long-term investment and a stable regulatory framework remaining in place for as long as it takes to offer benefits to the European citizens and business are the Alpha and Omega of the energy industry. It is our firm view that countries which are able to provide this stability today will spearhead the next stage of economic and innovation-driven development, and win the global energy leadership race. I 

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