From the Daily mail:
In March Energy Minister Amber Fudd claimed energy bills would soar by £500 million a year if we left the EU, adding: ‘The thing about the gas market is you don’t know what shocks and what changes there can be to it.’
But in a remarkable rebuttal to her boss’s claims, Ms Leadsom said today that Brexit would threaten ‘absolutely none’ of the three ‘critical considerations’ at the forefront of Britain’s energy policy.
‘Leaving the EU will give us freedom to keep bills down, to meet our climate change targets in the cheapest way possible, and of course, keep the lights on,’ she said in a speech in central London.
Under the European Commission’s ‘Winter Package’ proposals all 28 EU member states would ‘take on legal responsibility for each other’s gas security’.
This would ensure that EU member states that face having their gas supplies cut – due to political disputes with countries such as Russia or contracts expiring, for example, – would see its gas supplies guaranteed by fellow member states.
Setting out the ‘real threat out continued membership of the EU will have on our energy security,’ Ms Leadsom said: ‘The European Commission’s ‘Winter Package’, contains a number of proposals which make painfully clear the direction of travel in EU energy policy.
‘Two of those suggestions pose a potential threat to our continued energy security.
‘First, we will be required in future to ask the Commission for approval before negotiating new gas deals with international partners, leaving us possibly reliant on a group of unelected Eurocrats, further diminishing our freedom to act in our own best interests, and certainly delaying our ability to respond in an emergency.
‘But secondly, and of deep concern, there is a specific proposal by the Commission to require member states to take on legal responsibility for each other’s gas security.
‘To quote directly from the Commission’s report: ‘under the so called solidarity principle, an EU country in trouble would see gas supplies to its households and essential services ensured by neighbouring EU countries’.
Britain, she said, was a world leader in the development of new, low carbon technologies and its emissions reduction ambitions, set out in the UK Climate Change Act of 2008 was ‘world leading’.
The ‘vast majority’ of Britain’s electricity, she said was home grown, while 24 per cent of electricity came from renewable sources.
She said: ‘No one can reasonably claim that our electricity would somehow be switched off by a European politician trying to punish the UK for voting to leave.’
The UK she argued was on a ‘very secure supply footing’ for gas, with 40 per cent of gas supplies coming from North Sea reserves, and the rest mostly coming from Norway and the Middle East.
Unlike some other EU member states, she added, Britain was not dependent on Russia for gas.
Leaving the EU, she argued, ‘could really help the UK bill payer’ through ‘getting away from the huge restrictions’ of EU State Aid rules.
The need to get EU State Aid approval if Britain wanted to make any policy choices about its energy mix was, she claimed, a ‘huge thorn in my side every day’.
In a firm rebuttal of claims by pro-EU campaigners that Brexit would threaten Britain’s key energy goals, Ms Leadsom concluded: ‘Put simply, the lights will not go out, bills will not go up, and decarbonisation will not stall as a result of leaving the EU.
‘Where electricity and gas are concerned, ongoing security of supply will always be a red line for the UK.’