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Renewables After Brexit

University of Dundee / Renewables After Brexit

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Renewables After Brexit brand
Promotional newsletters

Promotional newsletters

Event website

Event website

 
 
 
Professor Peter Cameron, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee

Professor Peter Cameron
Director, CEPMLP, University of Dundee
Conference Chair

Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland

Rt Hon Alex Salmond
Former First Minister of Scotland
Keynote Speaker

John Campbell QC

John Campbell QC
Hastie Stable, Faculty of Advocates

Munir Hassan, CMS Cameron McKenna

Munir Hassan
CMS Cameron McKenna

Alexa Morrison, RSPB Scotland

Alexa Morrison
RSPB Scotland

Dave Pearson, Star Renewables

Dave Pearson
Star Renewable Energy

Graham Provest, Absolute Solar and Wind

Graham Provest
Absolute Solar & Wind

Lawrence Slade, Energy UK

Lawrence Slade
Energy UK

Mark Sommerfeld, Renewable Energy Association

Mark Sommerfeld
Renewable Energy Association

Professor Jorge Vasconcelos, NEWES

Prof. Jorge Vasconcelos
NEWES

Ian Dunsmore, Scottish Water Horizons

Ian Dunsmore
Scottish Water Horizons

Dr Alister Hamilton, EVA Scotland

Dr Alister Hamilton
EVA Scotland

Colin Hamilton, Gillespie MacAndrew

Colin Hamiton
Gillespie MacAndrew

Gokce Mete, University of Dundee

Gokce Mete
University of Dundee

Dr Thomas Muinzer, University of Stirling

Dr Thomas Muinzer
University of Stirling

Dr Geoff Wood, University of Stirling

Dr Geoff Wood
University of Stirling

 
 

About Renewables After Brexit

In a relatively short time, renewable energy has become an integral and growing part of Scotland’s energy mix. In a country with just 8% of the UK’s population, Scotland accounts for around a quarter of UK capacity and over two-thirds of renewable power in the devolved administrations. This underlines how far Scotland has come from dependence on oil and gas production, and how much it has contributed to meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets. It is rightly recognised as a success story, and is a global leader among the countries determined to make the transition to a low carbon economy. Yet, looking closer, the fragility of this trend is apparent.

Scotland’s renewable energy sector is intimately linked to the rest of Europe in its corporate ownership links, the sale of its power and the purchase of its equipment and infrastructure. Changes in the UK relationship to Europe will inevitably impact on Scotland whatever the form of Brexit and/or Scotland’s political future. Scotland has already dealt with considerable policy uncertainty due to the current structure of devolution; as a part of the UK, the Scottish Government has only some devolved powers over renewable energy with the rest reserved to the UK Government. This has led to increasing divergence between Scottish and UK policy, with Scotland arguably more aligned with the EU as a result.

With Brexit, all the policy-makers – at Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels – will have to review their commitments to renewable energy but, just as importantly, to subsidies, infrastructure and tariffs. Investors – from the USA to China – will be weighing their options very carefully in light of the withdrawal arrangements. Contracting, supply chains, subsidies, financing and trading will all be affected. Uncertainty about costs will soon become a fact of life for the sector.  

Yet policy support cannot simply dissolve into the mist. As the Paris Agreement on climate change takes effect, the commitments to the sector will continue from the EU, from Westminster and crucially from the Scottish Government in Holyrood. To date, their policies have helped to change the economics and acceptability of renewable energy in ways no-one could have expected ten years ago. So, what should they be doing now to mitigate this uncertainty? What form should further support for the sector take when EU support mechanisms cease? And what is the likely trend of EU policy on renewable energy as it plans to introduce a series of new measures across the member countries? Will the EU be negative or retaliatory or will it be cooperative? One key issue will be the degree of continuity or change evidenced by the UK renewables sector going forward.

Renewables After Brexit was not a conference to discuss the form of Brexit or the pros and cons of it. Rather, it was a sharing of knowledge to inform our conversation about Scotland’s energy future at a time of energy and political transition; a time when the next round of policy choices may well determine what the future will look like and indeed whether it has a future.

The Marketing Department had overall responsibility for branding, administration and promotion of the event. We also had substantial input into programme development and engagement with sponsors.