(Adds climate change minister's comments on ETS)
By Nina Chestney
LONDON, April 19 Britain should continue to
participate in the European Union's energy market when it leaves
the 28-nation bloc, energy minister Greg Clark told a
parliamentary committee on Wednesday.
The British government wants to secure the best possible
deal in all areas of Brexit negotiations with the EU related to
energy matters, Clark told the Business, Energy and Industrial
"It is very much in our interest to continue to participate
in the energy market and expand those interconnections,
especially in Ireland," Clark said.
"I think it would be better if we continue (in it) and a bad
thing if that were to be disrupted."
Britain imported 6 percent of its electricity via power
links with France, Holland and Ireland in 2016, but is seeking
ways to increase its power sources to help to replace ageing
coal and nuclear plants set to close in the 2020s.
Clark emphasised that discussions with the EU were only just
about to start but that he hopes plans for interconnectors with
other EU and non-EU countries would continue and be extended.
"Our ambition is to go more into interconnection. If we want
to have a smarter grid and bring on lots of different types of
sources of power, interconnection is important for that," he
Several new electricity interconnectors with European
countries are in development. If built, these could satisfy
about 20 percent of Britain’s peak electricity demand by the
Another area of negotiation with the EU will be around
Britain's role in Europe's Emissions Trading System (ETS), which
charges power plants and factories for every tonne of carbon
dioxide they emit.
In February the European Parliament's lead carbon
policymakrer said that Britain is unlikely to remain in the
scheme after Brexit.
UK climate change minister Nick Hurd told the committee that
Britain continues to play an active role in reforming the ETS.
"There are good reasons why we are in it, but I think the
discipline of the Brexit process is that, as a government, we
have the responsibility to look at the options," he said, adding
that the government is analysing alternatives to the scheme.
(Editing by David Goodman)