A speech delivered to European policy makers and energy industry participants in Brussels.

"Security of energy supply and affordable energy costs are absolutely critical for the future of the UK. Brexit is throwing up a multitude of issues of fundamental importance that risk being neglected in the wider Brexit debate.

"The energy sector has not been portrayed as one of the main Brexit political battlegrounds, but as the UK's negotiating strategy evolves, decisions made now on issues such as the future role of the European Court of Justice could have a profound impact on the shape - and resilience - of the UK energy sector after Brexit.

"Whilst the political debate is firmly fixed on wide ranging issues such as citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the Repeal Bill, it is essential that the politicians listen carefully to the energy industry and ensure that decisions made now don't derail the prospects later for a sensible and 'technocratic' Brexit solution for the sector.

"One hope is that the position of Ireland which will be physically isolated after Brexit from the rest of the EU at the end of a very long pipe and cable network, will be key. Both sides of the Brexit negotiations will be anxious to find a pragmatic solution which does not harm Ireland's security of supply, nor unpick the unique cross-border all-island single electricity market.

"Another priority is to get a clear position from the UK Government on the implications of its planned exit from the Euratom treaty, where we don’t have any WTO fall-back position if new arrangements are not in place by March 2019. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the implications here have not yet been fully thought through.

"Events such as today’s meeting in Brussels are an important step in ensuring visibility of some of the complex challenges which Brexit presents for the UK energy sector and its participants."

Delivered at the event entitled ‘Why is energy different? Brexit and the energy sector’, at the Club de Warende, Brussels on 11 July 2017.

Joining Andrew Whitehead on the platform was Anthony Froggatt, senior research fellow in the energy, environment and resources department of Chatham House. Panel contributions also came from Doerte Fouquet, head of the Brussels office of German law firm Becker Buettner Held; Jo Leinen, MEP, committees on environment, foreign policy and constitutional affairs; Claude Turmes, MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and Jan Ingwersen, General Manager of ENTSOG, the association of European gas transmission system operators.