The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has caused “confusion and added another layer of complexity to an already complex position” in regard to the country’s energy policy.
That was the verdict of energy advisor Andrew Buglass, who added that the Brexit result has created “a real issue of longer-term messages for the sector”.
Speaking at the Energy Live 2016 conference in London, Buglass said he knew of “a number of investors who have put things on hold” because of the result of the June 23 referendum.
Buglass – who founded his own energy advisory consulting practice after running Royal Bank of Scotland’s energy finance team – said Britain’s energy reputation within Europe was now at risk: “At the European level we have long been seen as a paragon of virtue for energy regulatory framework. A lot of European energy policy trends started in the UK first. We have a long history – now that is changing.”
Fellow energy consultant Mike Huggins, of Frontier Economics, predicted a 15 per cent increase in the cost of gas, coal and oil commodities as a result of Brexit, which he added was creating uncertainty of the growth of the UK energy sector.
Sharing the stage with Buglass and Huggins was former UK energy secretary Ed Davey, who said the Brexit decision has “created a vaccum” in the energy sector, which he said was “a scandal”.
He also said it was wrong to assume that Brussels had previously influenced British energy decisions: “Europe didn’t tell us what to do on energy policy – we told Europe. We have now lost influence. We were the champions of the internal market and now we are not even going to be at the table.”
Shadow energy and climate change minister Alan Whitehead said that on UK energy, “people are crying out for some decisions to be made and some direction to be given”.