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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-23960

  • Asked by: Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Date lodged: 15 December 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 15 January 2024


To ask the Scottish Government what (a) number and (b) proportion of homes it anticipates will need to be supported by heat networks in order to meet targets for decarbonising home heating.


Our 2021 Heat in Buildings Strategy set out that several technologies – including heat networks – can play a part to 2030 and beyond in reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions from our homes and non-domestic buildings. The Heat Networks (Scotland) Act, 2021 sets targets for the amount of heating and cooling to be supplied by heat networks, requiring that this reaches 2.6 Terawatt hours (TWh) by 2027, 6 TWh by 2030 and 7 TWh by 2035. These figures represent approximately 3%, 8% and 9% respectively, of current non-electrical heat consumption in Scotland. How big a role heat networks will have, beyond the heat networks targets in the Heat Networks (Scotland) Act, 2021, will depend on a number of factors including location and viability relative to other zero emission solutions.

Heat networks, specifically district heat networks (or multi-building heat networks), are generally anchored around large heat using buildings – often non-domestic buildings, which account for a significant portion of the heat supplied. As such it is anticipated that the number of homes connecting to achieve the 2027, 2030 and 2035 targets will vary depending on the proportion of connections to non-domestic buildings. Once heat networks are established, with time, the proportion of heat supplied to homes may increase as more homes are connected.

A number of indicative scenarios have been modelled to allow better visualisation of what the statutory targets could mean. These used the data produced in the first national assessment of potential heat network zones. These scenarios show a wide variety in the number of homes connected. The Heat Networks Delivery Plan also set out the number of average gas using homes that is equivalent to 2.6TWh and 6 TWh of heat supplied. The figures of average gas using homes are purely illustrative and are not an expectation of the number of homes that might connect to meet the targets. The modelling outputs for 2027 and 2030 can be viewed in Tables 1 and 2 of the Heat Networks Delivery Plan, published March 2022, available at . The modelling outputs for 2035 can be viewed in Table 3 of Consultation on a 2035 heat network target, published in December 2022, available at .