Government Vows To Underwrite EU Funding For UK Energy Projects

With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union likely to take place soon, various changes and steps by the government are being announced. The UK government, for instance, has announced a guarantee to underwrite EU funding for trans-national energy projects in the event of a “no deal” Brexit. These include projects including gas and electricity interconnectors.

A paper issued some few days ago by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department outlined arrangements of projects which have been awarded grants through the EU’s connection of Europe Facility when Brexit occurs.

This document covering one of large number issued some days ago outlines how different areas are referred to as ‘no deal’ scenario. The CEF supports key infrastructure projects. These link the energy systems of EU countries, solar panels grants included, and for that reason, the CEF has been designated as a Project of Common Interest (PCI). The infrastructure projects believed to deliver to the wider EU benefits also get help from a streamlined permitting process. CEF grants pay for pump priming work like archaeological digs, different feasibility studies and other types of construction that need assistance.

For all the interconnector projects proposed between the EU and the UK, they have been awarded PCI status except only two. By the time it gets to next March, the UK is due to leave the EU. According to a document by the government, should there be “no deal” the UK government will guarantee all energy grant awards made or agreed prior to the exit day.

As per the document, it is not likely that the UK will withdraw from the European Union with no agreement in place. But even if this happens, the government has assured that all UK organisations receiving help from CEF energy grant awards will proceed without disruption. This may also include solar panels grants made. The streamlined permitting process for PCIs will also move on for a short period according to the government. This UK government’s guarantee is for all CEF grants that are not fully honoured by the European Commission.

One partner at the solicitors Herbert Smith Freehills Silke Goldberg endorsed the announcement by the government. Commenting on the guarantee, the partner said it is something that is massively welcome and there could have been serious risks had the government not made such a decision. Silke Goldberg also talked about longer-term support for interconnectors which were not covered by the announcement made a few days ago. She said the government has to give these a great deal of consideration.

Electric vehicles rolling out could be affected if there is no deal. Considering that solar panels grants may be disrupted among other energy projects, the release of electric vehicles could slow down. This is according to a report by the Department of Transport that is concerned. As per the current EU regulations, the electric vehicles sold in the UK contribute to the wide emission fleet reduction targets for motor manufacturers by the EU.

With the event of Brexit, these rules will no longer be applicable to the UK. This will allow vehicle manufacturers in other member states a greater incentive to sell low emission vehicles and their sales will contribute to meeting the countries’ emission reduction targets.

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