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The Heat Network Partnership is a collaboration of agencies focused on the promotion and support of district heating schemes in Scotland. Through its support to local authorities and practitioners, it is building capacity and project development capability to support heat planning and programme delivery work that will be developed by local authorities, the Scottish Government and its partners, as part of the wider SEEP programme in future.

As a means of distributing heat to homes, businesses and public buildings, district heating allows the efficient use of a range of heat sources, creating a heat network which can supply towns or whole cities. While not appropriate for all areas, in the right locations district heating can result in lower carbon emissions, more affordable heating and supply long-term investment in infrastructure which can be adapted to meet changing energy demands.

District Heating Regulations Consultation Paper:



The accompanying District Heating Regulations consultation paper considers the role that regulation could play in developing District Heating in Scotland,as part of SEEP. The Scottish Government already supports local authorities to develop strategies for district heating infrastructure through the Heat Network Partnership Strategy Support Programme, and through Scotland’s Heat Map. Complementing this draft Energy Strategy is our consultation on the development of regulation for local authorities to produce Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies that will support area-based energy efficiency and heat programmes.

The Scottish Government has published its Heat Policy Statement (HPS), setting out its approach to working towards decarbonising the heat system along with a framework for investment in a low carbon heat sector. The statement designates energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority. To support this £76 million will be available over the next 3 years for tailored project development support to established and start-up infrastructure projects, including heat, across the private, public and community sectors. This will be delivered through the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP). In addition the Government will deliver a support programme for local authorities to develop a strategic approach to district heating and for supporting the use of the Scotland Heat Map to help deliver district heating. The statement also retains the 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.

The Heat Network Partnership estimates that delivery of 50% of the 103 known heat network projects in Scotland offers an investment opportunity of around £100m to £240m.


The Opportunity:

The Scottish Government’s Heat Policy Statement sets out the ambition for a substantial expansion of heat networks in Scotland, offering a significant opportunity for investors, equipment vendors and network operators. The Statement proposes an increase in the amount of heat supplied through heat networks from around 0.3 TWh now to 1.5 TWh by 2020. A significant part of this ambition will be achieved through increasing the number of households connected, from around 9,000 currently to 40,000 by 2020.

The Scottish Government’s Heat Network Partnership (HNP) is actively engaged in supporting district projects across Scotland. The HNP has built up a database of activity which by April 2015 contained 103 proposed heat network projects in Scotland, representing around 1.02 TWh of additional heat. The Project Directory is published on the HNP website:


Estimated total potential heat network capital costs(1)

The delivery of all 103 proposed district heating schemes in the Heat Network Partnership database offers a total investment opportunity of between £200m to £440m, including heat plants, heat distribution networks and end-user connections.

Heat distribution networks:                 £85m – £190m

Heat plants (excluding EfW(2)):                £74m – £223m

End-user connections:                £28m – £70m

Smart City Heating:


An integral part of building sustainable urban developments is to respond to the high heat demands in urban areas with low carbon solutions. Nearly half the energy we use in the Scotland is used for heating. 

Heat is the single biggest reason we use energy in our society.We use more energy for heating than for transport or the generation of electricity. This year the UK will spend around £33 billion on heat across our economy.

Heat networks can be integrated with local authority plans for urban regeneration, for reducing fuel poverty, and addressing environmental issues.They can also be part of an integrated low carbon system, as seen in some European cities.
The transformation of heat-generation and heat-use will not only meet the objectives of reducing emissions from heat, contributing to Scotland’s effort on tackling climate change, but will also

  • help ensure more physical security and a diverse energy supply;
  • improve productivity through greater energy efficiency and support growth in low carbon heat generation and its supply chain; and
  • ensure the most vulnerable are supported during the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Heat Trust Programme:

Heat Trust Logo _400x400

Heat Trust is a voluntary industry-led customer protection scheme that recognises best practice.

It puts in place a common standard in the quality and level of protection given by heat energy suppliers to their residential and micro-business customers. It also provides an independent process for settling disputes between customers and their heat supplier. This is provided by the Energy Ombudsman which is operated by the Ombudsman Services.

Heat Trust protection is aimed at heat energy suppliers who contract with metered or unmetered domestic and micro business properties where the heat customer pays their supplier directly for their heat energy. Where appropriate, the level of protection afforded under the Scheme seeks to replicate that of gas and electricity customers.

Community Energy:

The term ‘community energy’ covers a range of collective actions, from saving or reducing our use of it, to purchasing, managing and generating the stuff. It does not include commercially or Government-supported initiatives, nor isolated, individual efforts. The emphasis is very much on projects involving local engagement, leadership and control, and where there is a benefit to local communities. Community Energy projects are often at the cutting edge of innovation and technology. Communities want to find new ways to maximise the benefits of renewable energy generation using emerging technologies, and the clever local use of heat or power.

Distributed Energy Systems:

Distributed Energy Systems (DES) is a term which encompasses a diverse array of generation, storage, energy monitoring and control solutions. DES technologies represent a paradigm shift and offer building owners and energy consumers significant opportunities to reduce cost, improve reliability and secure additional revenue through on-site generation and dynamic load management.

Smart Grids:

A smart grid is an evolved grid system that manages electricity demand in a sustainable, reliable and economic manner, built on advanced infrastructure and tuned to facilitate the integration of all involved. Smart grids will provide more electricity to meet rising demand, increase reliability and quality of power supplies, increase energy efficiency, be able to integrate low carbon energy sources into power networks.

Smart grids possess demand response capacity to help balance electrical consumption with supply, as well as the potential to integrate new technologies to enable energy storage devices and the large-scale use of electric vehicles.

Electrical systems will undergo a major evolution, improving reliability and reducing electrical losses, capital expenditures and maintenance costs. A smarter grid will provide greater control over energy costs and a more reliable energy supply for consumers. Environmental benefits of a smarter grid include reduced peak demand, integration of more renewable power sources, and reduced CO2 emissions and other pollutants.

Demand Side Response (DSR):

DSR is all about intelligent energy use. By ‘demand side’, we mean services that enable businesses and consumers to turn up, turn down or shift demand in real-time. This is a really important tool to help ensure a secure, sustainable and affordable electricity system. It can help us soften peaks in demand and fill in the troughs, especially at times when power is more abundant, affordable and clean. DSR has a vital role to play in the evolution of electricity markets. It gives customers more insight and therefore more control. It helps to reduce costs across the energy supply chain, security of supply is improved and by enabling everyone to make better use of alternative energy sources, it contributes to carbon reduction.

The Scottish Government continues to support the The Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) – a unique world-class facility designed to accelerate the adoption of new, ‘smart’ technologies within advanced power grids, supporting the increased accommodation of renewable energy, electric vehicles and demand side management.

Energy & Battery Storage:

The Scottish Government is working with industry to help them identify and develop viable business models to realise storage solutions, and to identify barriers for storage. The work will aim to develop solutions aimed at promoting a market environment in which storage can compete on an equal playing field, look to identify technology innovation requirements and standards to build confidence in storage solutions and identify and promote the development of a Scottish supply chain.

Battery Energy Storage LCS 2016

Research and development in energy conversion and storage are becoming increasingly important due to the increasing energy demand for economic and social development and it is fast becoming one of the principal challenges facing the energy sector Energy storage can be defined as simply storing energy generated during periods of low demand to use during periods of high demand.

Battery devices store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy and have the ability to later convert that energy back into electricity. A range of potential battery systems exist: lead-acid, sodium-sulphur, lithium-ion, nickel-based, metal-air and flow batteries. Batteries can be used for a wide variety of applications such as balancing demand and supply or altering the frequency of electricity for the grid. They also operate across a range of scales, from very large-scale schemes connecting to the electricity grid to smaller schemes for individual homes or vehicles.

Potential for deployment in Scotland:

In the long term, battery technologies with long running times could be a good fit for the high levels of renewable energy generation in Scotland and alleviate constraints on the distribution network. In the short term, large-scale batteries can be used for other services such as regulating the frequency of electricity from renewables generation.

Scotland is already home to battery storage, with the UK’s first large-scale battery connected to the distribution network in Orkney in 2013. The 2MW lithium-ion device connects to the islands’ Active Network Management system. On another Scottish island, Eigg, residents benefit from batteries connected to hydro schemes, wind turbines and solar PV panels. The ability to store energy from these schemes has resulted in 98% of power on the island coming from a renewable source.