The UK has committed to reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, which infers high degrees of energy policy change, and some quite fundamental changes in how society functions, the types of energy we produce and use, and how energy is managed and consumed. UK energy policymakers must now make decarbonisation decisions within a new political context: Brexit. This adds a further layer of complexity, and indeed uncertainty, given its wide-ranging scope, and associated potential political, economic and trade implications.

This project, which is being delivered jointly by Chatham House and the University of Warwick, seeks to unravel and explore Brexit so that we can better understand it, what it means for energy policy and politics. This is done across four main work packages:

  • Combine conceptual insights from (IPE, climate change, and energy policy) scholarship in order to frame Brexit and how it relates to zero carbon energy policy;
  • Map the immediate implications of de-integration from the EU for current UK energy policy, and for net zero energy policy based on documented analysis and stakeholder engagement;
  • Analyse how UK energy policy is being re-oriented, as a result of Brexit, in the medium term (2020-2022) in three strategic areas: carbon and emissions trading; gas and electricity trade and interconnection between the UK and European markets; and demand management;
  • Application of scenario planning methods to explore different longer-term trajectories (2023-2030) for the UK’s net zero energy policies, as the UK re-configures itself domestically and globally.

By understanding Brexit, and its implications across the different temporal stages, the project will highlight additional, relevant barriers and opportunities for the UK as it strives to fully decarbonise energy and what these mean for meeting zero carbon targets.