If the UK votes to leave the EU next month, it would be damaging for prospects of greater power interconnectivity with other member states.

Euractiv reports that leaving the EU would mean the UK would not automatically remain a member of initiatives and institutions working to harmonise EU energy prices and develop cross-border rules for electricity interconnectors.
UK EU interconnected
The news agency quoted Silke Goldberg, a counsel focused on energy at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, as saying, “one of the areas that would be immediately affected is actually interconnectors – both existing and planned projects”.

This is because the UK would no longer automatically be part of the EU regulatory framework for market coupling – an EU initiative to unify electricity trading and harmonise power prices across Europe.

In addition, the UK would not automatically be able to influence decisions around the development of cross-border network codes – rules that regulate how networks are used to transport electricity for example through interconnectors. It is also uncertain whether interconnectors in the UK would qualify for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) or the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) if the country does not remain in the EU. Energy projects were the biggest recipient of the EIB’s €7.8 billion investments in the UK last year, accounting for 28% of all investments.

Charlotte Ramsay, National Grid’s head of strategy, markets and regulation, said last month when questioned on the subject, “Undoubtedly, there would be some disruption as we work out how we re-engage with some European institutions. One experience that we have had on the interconnector side is looking at how the Norwegians engage with the energy market … Being outside the European Union, they have had to work very hard to continue to be influential, and they have managed it.”