UK energy professionals’ concerns: Brexit uncertainty and key high capital projects

They see energy efficiency as low cost with the lowest investment risk to adding value and boosting productivity

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By Priyanka Shrestha
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The “fog of uncertainty” around Brexit and policy shortcomings has intensified and is resting heavy on the minds of energy professionals in the UK.

That’s the findings of the Energy Institute’s (EI) latest Energy Barometer, an annual ‘state of the nation’ survey of experts across the industry.

It states last year’s concerns about the potential lack of skilled workforce and ongoing relationship with the EU energy market have continued.

Joanne Wade, Chief Executive of the Association of the Conservation of Energy told ELN: “We’re now a year down the line, a year closer to Brexit happening and neither of those things is any clearer and therefore people are more concerned and feel almost like they have almost have even less clarity about what’s going to happen. So that’s where we say the fog is growing because people are more and more concerned that they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The report also suggests there are “mixed fortunes” for clean energy as while renewable use is surging and solar and offshore wind costs continue to fall, key high capital projects are seen as “risky business”.

Louise Kingham, CEO of the Energy Institute told ELN that would include carbon capture, utilisation and storage, marine and tidal as well as hydrogen, which EI members see as having “real value” in the energy system but are concerning them in terms of investment opportunities and support going forward.

However, the energy professionals believe energy efficiency is key to adding value and boosting productivity as it is seen as “low cost with the lowest investment risk”. They are, however, more sceptical about hitting the fifth carbon budget.

Ms Kingham added they believe the 2040 target to ban new polluting vehicles could be brought forward as more low carbon vehicles hit UK roads.

She said: “Members are feeling ambitious actually, really positive about the opportunity, to have much more low carbon transport in the system, more than half of it actually before the 2040 ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles.

“So a real opportunity and a signal from energy experts that says actually if we want to up our ambition here, there is the potential to do that if we’re feeling bold and feeling brave.”