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What Does Brexit Mean for Renewables?

30 Jun 15:00 by Steve Walia

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In the wake of the surprise 'leave' referendum result, there are a vast number of questions about how policy will change in the post-European world for the UK. Certainly, the main initial implication is that policy-making will move back to London from Brussels, but interestingly, the fact is that Britain's energy policy has always been shaped domestically rather than centrally at an EU level.

Britain has always been in charge of its power investment since the electricity sector was liberalised in 1989. The UK has in fact played a key role in shaping policy at an EU level.

Europe has now become a global powerhouse for renewable energy, driven by the 2001RES-E directive in part, which was a huge piece of legislation that led the way for green energy adoption across the world. Most EU countries also adopted the feed-in tariff system, although the UK had its own model based on quotes.

In the UK, our solar and wind energies were based on the Renewable Obligations scheme, which was followed by the FIT scheme. Of course, this has since drastically been cut for solar energy, and the contracts for difference, or CfDs, scheme is less attractive. However, the UK is now free from its requirement to meet renewable energy targets that have been set at EU level. The EU may decide to move towards a more connected and internal market, and this could disadvantage Britain.

Others may feel that Brexit will help to boost the domestic solar energy sector by removing duties on imported panels, but it excludes the broader energy picture. All that is certain now is that change is ahead, and the political landscape will need to become clearer in the coming months before clear predictions can be made with any certainty.