Heat networks are a key strategic technology for reducing emissions from heating our homes and buildings. They will become a core component of the nation’s heat supply. The Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021 sets targets that 2.6 Terawatt hours (TWh) of output by 2027 and 6 TWh of output by 2030 – 3% and 8% respectively of current heat supply – should be supplied by heat networks.
The Scottish Government is working to create the conditions in Scotland for accelerated heat network development through primary legislation, capital funding and heat network designation guidance. This was outlined in the final Heat Networks Delivery Plan, published in March 2022.
The Plan outlines how the provisions of the 2021 Act, and any other supporting policies, will contribute to increasing the use of heat networks in Scotland and meeting the statutory targets. In addition, it outlines how progress will be measured and the expected contribution that heat networks will make toward meeting the emission reduction targets.
We will put in place secondary legislation and guidance to create a functioning regulatory regime for heat networks by early 2024. The Delivery Plan outlined proposals for regulations and an indicative timetable for delivery. These controls include licences, consents and heat network permits, as well as introducing zoning and reporting requirements.
Local authorities must produce Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) by the end of 2023. LHEES aim to establish local authority plans for systematically improving the energy efficiency of buildings and decarbonising heat, such as designating zones suitable for heat networks. The First National Assessment of Heat Network Zones in Scotland (FNA) will be used as part of the development of LHEES. The FNA identifies potential heat network zones across Scotland, where heat networks can be considered a suitable long-term solution. The Scottish Government offers pre-capital and capital grant funding to support heat network projects. The £300 million Scotland’s Heat Network Fund enables and supports the development of new, and expansion of existing, heat networks in Scotland. Grant funding towards feasibility studies, Outline Business Cases and technical, financial and legal advisors is available through the Heat Network Support Unit.