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The Heat Policy Statement

The Heat Policy Statement was published in June 2015. This concise Heat Policy Statement brings together and sets out Scottish Government’s framework for achieving a resilient heat system which transitions to be an affordable low carbon heat system for households, organisations and industry and which seizes the economic opportunities that this transformation offers.  It builds on the Draft Outline Heat Vision and Draft Heat Deployment Options Guidance published in 2013, the detailed draft Heat Generation Policy Statement, Towards decarbonising Heat: Maximising the Opportunities for Scotland, published in March 2014 and the consultation responses and stakeholder engagement in 2014 (see Consultation Analysis Report).

The Heat Policy Statement sets out the Scottish Government’s heat hierarchy, a step phased approach, firstly reducing the need for heat for example through better insulated buildings; secondly by ensuring an efficient heat supply, such as development of the district heating sector and the use of unused excess heat through heat recovery, and lastly through the effective use of renewable or low carbon heat sources.

The Statement places energy efficiency at the heart of the approach that we will take to decarbonising the whole energy system, by designating energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority.  The cornerstone of this will be Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), which will provide an offer of support to all buildings in Scotland – domestic and non-domestic – to improve their energy efficiency rating. The Statement also sets out how Scotland can stimulate potential investment to deliver de-carbonised heat through growing and emerging sectors, such as district heating and geothermal. We retain our level of ambition to achieve 1.5 TWh of Scotland’s heat demand to be delivered by district or communal heating and to have 40,000 homes connected by 2020.

To help inform the development of the Heat Policy Statement, the Scottish Government commissioned a forward projection model to explore possible scenarios for largely decarbonising the heat system in Scotland up to 2050. The model examines how different measures change the thermal performance of building stock and impact on the demand and supply of heat and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions.

The Heat Policy Statement is another component of our comprehensive approach to energy in Scotland, alongside placing energy efficiency at the heart of the approach that we will take to decarbonising the whole energy system.  The Scottish Government will work together with energy experts, businesses and communities to develop a more holistic approach to these issues as we prepare for the Third Report on Proposals & Policies in 2016

Renewable Heat in Scotland

A report produced by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of Scottish Government shows Scotland is continuing to make progress towards its target for 11% of heat to come from renewables. The renewable heat target complements the energy efficiency target to reduce the total final energy consumption in Scotland by 12% (against a base line of the average energy consumption in 2005-07), and underpins our ambitious climate change targets including a 80% minimum reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a world leading 42% reduction by 2020.

Following consultation with stakeholders the Scottish Government has improved the way it measures progress towards the renewable heat target. Using this improved methodology allows an estimate of progress based on the level of heat demand as opposed to a projection for 2020. The most recent year that data is available for is 2013, which was published by DECC at the end of September 2015. Therefore progress is shown using an number of scenarios for heat demand in 2014 providing a range.  These projections suggest that in 2014 Scotland produced enough heat from renewable sources to meet between 3.7% and 3.8% of non-electrical heat demand. This estimate signifies a growth from 1% in 2009. The actual percentage change will be reported in October 2016 once DECC heat demand data is available.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires Scottish Ministers to produce a plan for the use of renewable sources and to report regularly on progress. A Renewable Heat Action Plan was produced in November 2009 and updated in 2010. It was refreshed again in 2011 and an 2015 update of actions taken provided in 2015. The draft Heat Generation Policy Statement and now the Heat Policy Statement (see above) published in June 2015 sets out the Scottish Government’s comprehensive framework to largely decarbonise the heat system by 2050. The Heat Policy Statement updates and replaces the Renewable Heat Action Plan (RHAP), and the action points set out in the three subsequent updates.

District Heating Loan Fund

The District Heating Loan Fund offers loans to support the development of district heating networks in Scotland. The scheme is available to provide loans for both low carbon and renewable technologies in order to overcome a range of infrastructural issues and costs of developing these projects. In 2015, EST published an evaluation of projects supported by the District Heating Loan Fund and Warm Homes Fund, demonstrating carbon savings of 4,271 tCO2 a year from 26 evaluated projects, and projected savings of nearly 9,000 tCO2 from projects offered loans since 2011, with 12 MWth installed capacity supplying heat to 850 homes and other buildings.

Further information on accessing the scheme is available from the Energy Saving Trust.

District Heating Action Plan


In 2012, the Expert Commission on District Heating, convened by the Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, reported to the Scottish Government with a range of recommendations to accelerate the uptake of district heating across Scotland. The Scottish Government District Heating Action Plan published in June 2013 set out the actions we proposed to take in response to the Expert Commission’s Recommendations to accelerate the uptake of district heating in Scotland.


Over the last two years we have built on these actions, and made significant progress in key areas including:


The summary update on the District Heating Action Plan shows that the Scottish Government, with coordinated support through the Heat Network Partnership, has completed 19 out of 23 actions, with the remainder ongoing or under review.  


A Study into The Recovery of Heat from Power Generation in Scotland

On 5 October 2011 Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, announced publication of an independent study into the recovery of heat from power generation in Scotland. The study examines the technical and financial prospects for recovery of heat from four sites used for large scale fossil fuel power generation in Scotland and then explores policies that could help make the recovery of heat a more practical option. Promoting recovery of heat from large scale power stations through building on the results of this study is highlighted as a key action in the 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland