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As the UK moves back to being a substantial net energy importer, its interactions with the wider European energy markets take on a new importance. The task of decarbonising the electricity sector, requiring around £200 billion of investment by 2020, may be eased by additional interconnections with neighbouring systems. Recent swings in oil prices show what can happen when supply and demand are subject to shocks, and the emerging economies are forecast to add substantially to demand for oil and gas over the next decade. Against this, could Shale gas supplies have the same effect on European prices as in the USA? We also need to lay the technological foundations for decarbonised heat and transport – which routes will be successful, and how can we choose between them? Do the EU and its member states have appropriate, integrated, policies for this challenging decade?
This conference examined the economic and policy implications of these developing trends.