Scottish Government
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Action plan setting out support to reduce energy bills

The Scottish Government recently launched its District Heating Action Plan  which sets a clear roadmap for how we will support the growth of district heating networks throughout Scotland. and help reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.

District heating, is the supply of heat by hot water to a number of buildings through a heat network of underground pipes. 

The Action Plan sets how the Scottish Government will work with partners to deliver major public and private sector investment in infrastructure that is needed to secure a long-term sustainable and affordable heat supply. 

The plan includes:

  • The creation of the Heat Network Partnership that will provide support at all stages from planning to procurement and implementation and provide a focus to building links with key partners.
  • The Partnership will help to develop a project investment pipeline to secure support from the  Green Investment Bank Renewable Energy Investment Fund, and to identify funding opportunities from European and UK funding sources, such as the European Regional Development Fund.
  • A Call for Evidence on the investment needed in heat networks over the next few years. In particular, to address the barriers to creating large-scale integrated heat networks, with the capacity to expand in the future.

Welcoming the recommendations, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“District heating is an important means of achieving both carbon emission and fuel poverty targets as well as contributing to the development of a low-carbon economy and local economic regeneration. 

“As we continue to move forward with our action plan the long term benefits and opportunities are plentiful.  Jobs creation in the sector, inward investment from district heating manufacturers and the opportunities for existing businesses to be involved in the supply chain will all provide a welcome stimulus to local economies across Scotland

“Working with our partners, district heating will help to deliver our overall vision of a largely decarbonised heat sector by 2050, with significant progress by 2030.  The switch to district heating is already helping take thousands of households in places like Glasgow and Aberdeen out of fuel poverty. 

“We are already seeing the benefits at the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village where a £10 million district heating energy system will provide heating and hot water through underground pipes. 

“Today, I am delighted to announce that Ore Valley Housing Association’s £32 million renewable district heating scheme has been awarded £3,734,674 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund. It aims to address the issues of carbon reduction, affordable energy and economic development through the provision of a local energy network serving energy users in Cardenden.

“The money invested will have a beneficial long term effect on driving down fuel poverty – a concern for too many households in an energy rich nation like Scotland.”

Co-chair of the Expert Commission on District Heating, Mike Thornton, Head of the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland said:

“District heating offers a tried and tested route to lower fuel bills and reduced carbon emissions.

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s response to the recommendations made by the Expert Commission on District Heating and we on the Commission look forward to continuing to work with the Government to advise and assist in delivering a step change for district heating in Scotland.”

Welcoming the plan Ian Manders, Deputy Director of Combined Heat & Power Association  (CHPA), the independent association for district heating, and member of the Expert Commission, commented:

“The new District Heating Action Plan shows how serious the Scottish Government is about spreading the benefits of district heating to all the major urban areas in Scotland.

“CHPA looks forward to working with the Heat Network Partnership for Scotland on standards, and to assist with the creation of our proposed independent district heating customer protection scheme.“

John Gallacher, spokeperson for Glasgow’s City Legacy Consortium said:

"The Athletes' Village development has just won the Best Green Initiative at the Homes for Scotland Awards and much of this is attributed to the innovative district heating energy system which powers all 700 homes in the Athletes' Village and provides heating and hot water through underground pipes.

"The energy centre will result in bills around 40 per cent lower than any other power methods, making a huge impact on fuel poverty."

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