Britain’s energy sector would face at least two years of uncertainty if voters choose to leave the European Union (EU) on 23 June, according to the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

Having an isolated energy system rather than one that’s integrated into the European system would be more expensive, the report said.
Prices could also rise if the UK has less influence on Europe’s energy markets, it added.

Professor Paul Ekins, UKERC Deputy Director and lead author of the paper, said: “If the UK votes to leave the EU, much will depend on whether we remain part of the internal energy market and are accepted as a member of the European Economic Area, like Norway.”

‘All the pieces are thrown up in the air’

In a new report, the Chatham House think tank has analysed five possible “Brexit” scenarios and their effects on energy policy.

“In the field of energy and climate change policy, remaining in the EU offers the best balance of policy options for Britain’s national interests: the UK would continue to benefit from the integrated energy market, while maintaining influence over its direction and minimizing uncertainty for crucial investment,” it concluded.

Speaking to the Business Green website, Energy Minister Lord Bourne also said that leaving the EU would lead to serious uncertainty for the renewables industry.
“What we put in its place, if all the pieces are thrown up in the air, is anybody’s guess really,” he said.

His fellow energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, is part of the Vote Leave campaign, who has said: “Leaving the EU will give us freedom to keep bills down, to meet our climate change targets in the cheapest way possible, and of course, keep the lights on.”

UK ‘doesn’t lead pack’ with green policies

Meanwhile, a new report by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found that the UK doesn’t lead the EU on green policies and that adopting the Fifth Carbon Budget is needed to boost investor confidence.

The ECIU looked at a “basket” of measures, including renewable energy per-capita, and concluded that the UK was “about average” when compared to other EU countries.
Richard Benyon, Conservative MP for Newbury and a member of ECIU’s advisory board, said: “This report shows the UK is far from being ‘ahead of the pack’ as some people claim that we are”.

> Download the UK ERC's report