The cost of batteries for electricity storage to support the UK’s power system could increase significantly after Brexit depending on trade deal negotiations, according to the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA’s) Chief Executive.

Nina Skorupska was giving evidence to the House of Commons’ Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee’s inquiry into the effect of Brexit on UK energy and climate change policy.

She said the industry was facing risk around investment certainty and understanding how future regulation will look.

On storage, which she said was at the core of decentralising and democratising energy she said her members were concerned about rising costs of batteries depending on the outcome of trade negotiations over Brexit. There have been estimates that batteries sourced from key manufacturers in South Korea could rise by 24%.

“We have been consulting all our members since August, and the industry has identified that, without knowing what the relationship will be post separation from Europe, it would be difficult at this juncture to continue investment in some of those key areas, because it is about knowing the rules of the game for energy.  

“On energy storage, unless we have a deal around understanding how we trade, whether it is WTO or another form, some of our members have indicated that we could see rises of 24% on costs from South Korea.”  

Internal energy market

Skorupska said there were indications that the UK would also leave Europe’s internal energy market.

“All of those aspects are around understanding how that will deliver on not only the UK’s energy reliability systems but our climate change commitments.  It really needs to be carefully looked at.  We cannot wait until when we exit to suddenly start thinking about how we ensure our market rules and the way we interface with Europe are aligned.  We have to be working on that right now to give that certainty to why people should continue to invest in the UK. “

Michael Pollitt. Professor of Business Economics at the University of Cambridge, told the committee that excluding the UK from the internal energy market might be a “low-cost” way of punishing Britain for Brexit.

> Watch the committee's session on Parliament TV