The Impact of Brexit on the UK and Devolved Energy System

Paul Cairney, Fiona Munro, Aileen McHarg, Nicola McEwen, Karen Turner, Antonios Katris

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This briefing paper uses the example of a changing UK/Scottish government relationship after Brexit to demonstrate how to analyse the role of politics and policymaking in the transformation of energy systems. Brexit will create a new division of policymaking responsibilities between EU, UK, and devolved governments. In this paper we divide energy policy competences according to levels of government. Initially, it suggests that we can generate a clear picture of multi-level policymaking. However, the formal allocation of competences only tells a partial story, because actual powers may operate differently from the strict legal picture. These blurry boundaries between responsibilities may be further complicated by Brexit, even if it looks like the removal of a layer of government will simplify matters. Instead of imagining clear lines of accountability, think of energy policy as part of a complex policymaking system – in which the link between powers, practices, and outcomes is unclear – and an energy system, in which government is only one of many influences on outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019


  • Brexit
  • energy systems
  • devolved government
  • climate change
  • renewable energy
  • EU law
  • energy policy


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