Energy industry reacts to Brexit news

The energy industry has started to react to this morning’s historic news that the UK will be leaving the EU. ELN has contacted the big names in the energy sector […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The energy industry has started to react to this morning’s historic news that the UK will be leaving the EU.

ELN has contacted the big names in the energy sector to see what they think Brexit means for UK energy.

In a statement SSE said: “The UK Government should be mindful of the importance that the harmonisation of the GB energy market with the countries in Europe can have on efforts to deliver clean, secure and affordable energy.

“SSE agrees with the UK Government that collaboration with other European countries on energy matters is important for UK consumers.”

In response to the result, Energy UK commented: “The important message today is people need not worry, the lights will stay on and power and gas will continue to flow to homes and businesses.”

Sebastien Marlier, Senior Commodities Editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit was less positive: “Uncertainty about the UK, EU and global economy will initially translate into weaker commodity prices. The recent upward trend in oil prices will reverse, with the price of crude falling quickly back below US$40/barrel on weaker sentiment, other commodities following suit.

“Significantly for the UK, there is also a risk that the coming period of volatility could undermine negotiations to save Tata’s Port Talbot steelworks.”

Ashurst oil and gas partner Michael Burns said: “The most immediate concern is that Brexit’s potential economic impact may exacerbate the already challenging environment created by lower oil prices. What is needed now is clear leadership on the way forward – and quickly!”

Tony Ward, EY’s Head of Power and Utilities said: “Being an island with limited interconnection to the continent, the UK has out of necessity had to meet its energy needs, from electricity generation through to water distribution, largely from its own UK-based resources and assets. Demand for these services is not likely to change materially, despite the vote to leave the EU and the UK-based industry will continue to meet that demand.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, advised: “The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the Government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.

“The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions.”

Finally Dr Nina Skorupska from the REA said: “Energy policy must be a priority for the Government now, with industry needing reassurance and ministerial clarity on priorities.”