UK Prime Minister Theresa May today (17 January 2017) set out her objectives for exit negotiations from the single European market.

Mrs May said: “I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country – a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead. I want us to be a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.”

Her speech was not without warnings: “It remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain’s national interest that the EU should succeed. And that is why I hope in the months and years ahead we will all reflect on the lessons of Britain’s decision to leave.”

And directly addressed Europe:

“So to our friends across Europe, let me say this. Our vote to leave the European Union was no rejection of the values we share. The decision to leave the EU represents no desire to become more distant to you, our friends and neighbours. It was no attempt to do harm to the EU itself or to any of its remaining member states.”
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“We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. That is why we seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU.”

Though it touched on the export market for European energy companies, the speech did not mention how countries in Europe have worked together towards achieving global environmental goals.

In an initial industry reaction, Tanuja Randery, zone president for UK & Ireland at energy company Schneider Electric, and member of the CBI’s Energy and Climate Change Board said:

“The free-flow of energy across the EU offers the best possible chance of achieving our 2020 renewable energy targets, while ensuring security of supply for the consumer. With the news that the UK will exit the European Single Market, the government needs to make it clear how we will maintain some control over the rules that regulate our ability to freely compete.

“The UK has always been a leader in energy and climate change. But if we are to maintain this in the evolving energy market, we must consider the risks that Brexit poses. The vote to leave the EU has already created uncertainty around energy interconnectors, and the way we take advantage of these, both in terms of existing and planned projects. It’s essential that energy remains high on the Brexit agenda as access to the single market is negotiated.”

Trade body RenewableUK was pleased that the Prime Minister’s speech made clear her support for clean energy and for developing a new modern industrial strategy.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: “The Prime Minister has sent a strong signal that Britain is open for business by stating that we’ll be more outward looking than ever before as a global trading nation.

"There are huge opportunities in the booming renewables market for us to grow and create British jobs - and the Prime Minister recognises this, as she specifically cited clean energy as one of the innovative, cutting edge sectors in which Britain must remain a leader."

Pinchbeck added: "As the UK is the global leader in offshore wind as well as wave and tidal energy, we’re well placed to attract investment and to export renewable energy kit to every corner of the world."