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How Brexit Affects the Renewable Energy Industry
With climate change posing a major threat to sustainable development, environmentalists remain increasingly worried about what Brexit means to the renewable energy sector in the United Kingdom. The European Union had introduced strong rules and regulations on curbing emissions, and these rules applied to all countries affiliated to European Union. The United Kingdom had made commendable progress in curbing carbon emissions and implementing renewable energy developments. The initiative to protect the environment is in line with the EU goal to reduce pollution, through emissions and promote adoption of renewable energy (Law Careers, 2016). However, the Brexit supporters are individuals who have regressive ideas on climate change. These individuals vehemently deny climate change, claiming it is a hoax created by scientists. As such, citizens behind Brexit did not see the need to invest a substantial amount of money to address climate change. It should be noted that the environmentalists viewed Brexit as a disaster towards environmental conservancy efforts. It is increasingly likely that progress towards renewable energy will be hampered.
It is worth noting that Brexit was based on ideologies relating to immigration, euro-skepticism, and multiculturalism. In fact, older and conservative individuals do not believe that climate change is real. As such, these individuals tend to resist the move aimed at taking urgent action in promoting renewable energy development. However, young individuals understand the need of taking care of the environment, fostering of environmentally sound strategies in addressing climate change (Maclay Murray, 2016). Therefore, Brexit pits two sides against each other. Individuals who see the need to protect the environment, and those who want the UK to do away with laws on environmental conservancy.
When the UK voted for Brexit, it means that the country is released from renewable energy targets, which the European Union had defined. When the Prime Minister Theresa May triggers the leave clause, it would mean an end to the control of the European Union in the UK. In this sense, the United Kingdom government will be granted freedom in design and replace the renewable energy support regimes. With individuals that supported Brexit less keen on environmental protection, it would lead to businesses that use energy to revert to fossil oil. The efforts to protect the environment will go down the drain. It should be noted that the availability of funding from the European Union could be critical in capital deployment to fund projects such as offshore wind. However, with the UK out of the EU, the UK government will have to find alternative funding. Indeed, the United Kingdom has to adhere to the international laws on reduction of carbon emission. Therefore, the government has an obligation to fund the low carbon energy and renewable energy development. It will be costly for the United Kingdom, considering the European Union will no longer support such projects. The increased expense on reduction of carbon emission would mean that the UK would have an additional budget, to promote sustainable development.
The Brexit has a great influence on fossil-fuelled power projects. The EU regulations require that operators of a specified industrial and combustion plants adhere to the Emission Directives of 2010. The regulations have been necessary in reducing emissions or discharges into the environment, with focus on minimising the wastes. In the energy sector, the permit conditions decide the level of emissions that should be achieved in the energy sector, and it is possible that it could lead to pollution abatement equipment. In plants where this method may be considered expensive, it is likely that these plants will close down. Such move will have a great effect on coal-fired power plants, as well as several other older plants that expected to close before 2023. These plants may consider limited life derogation, where it is possible for these firms to operate without abatement equipment, until the end of 2023 (Buchan & Keay, 2016). However, with the UK decision to leave the EU sealed, it remains unclear how the IED regulations will play out. It should be noted that closing of unabated coal-fired plant is unlikely, following the UK’s government proposal that the unabated coal-fired power stations to close by 2025 (Gallucci, 2016).
The UK decision to leave the EU would trigger the EU to withdraw funding of the project it had started and they were underway. The EU had been actively involved in initiatives aimed to promote energy infrastructure, and the UK has been a great beneficiary of the funding. In this respect, the European Investment Bank investment in the UK totals seven billion Euros, where the energy project accounts for 50 per cent of the money. This indicates the commitment of the EU towards sustainable development in the UK and other European countries. If the UK government has to fund all to these renewable energy projects, it would strain the UK economy, which was shaken immediately after the leave vote won (Buchan & Keay, 2016).
In conclusion, the exit of the UK from the EU presents several problems to the United Kingdom. It may bar progress that the UK has made in the renewable energy industry. Some of the companies may consider the large-scale use of fossil fuel, which contributes to the distraction of the environment. To make matter worse, the Brexit supporter do not believe in climate change. As such, these individual may not be keen to support a campaign centred on environmental protection. As such, these individuals do not approve the government expenditure on reduction of carbon emissions and funding of the Moreover, even though the UK has an obligation to care for the environment, the funding of the renewable energy sources may prove expensive. In this respect, the withdrawal from the EU brings new problems toward environment protection in the UK.
Law Careers (2016). Implications of Brexit on UK renewable energy. Retrieved from http://www.lawcareers.net/Information/BurningQuestion/Watson-Farley-Williams-LLP-Implications-of-Brexit-on-UK-renewable-energy
Maclay Murray (2016). Brexit: what now for the renewable energy sector? https://www.mms.co.uk/MMS-Knowledge/MMS-Newsroom/Latest-news/8-July-2016-Brexit-what-now-for-the-renewable-energy-sector
Buchan, D., & Keay, M. (2016). Europe’s Long Energy Journey: Towards an Energy Union? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gallucci, M. (2016). Brexit Vote 2016: UK Renewable Energy Sector Faces Uncertain Future As June 23 EU Referendum Nears. Retrieved on http://www.ibtimes.com/brexit-vote-2016-uk-renewable-energy-sector-faces-uncertain-future-june-23-eu-2377753
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