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Harnessing Value for Scotland’s Communities from Heat Networks

From Strategy to Delivery

 “a 21st century industrial revolution which supports our environmental life-support system and restores our social fabric” – Patrick Harvie MSP

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) recently partnered with sustainable energy provider Vattenfall, to provide a forum for discussion on the opportunities arising from the installation of Heat Networks across Scotland. Patrick Harvie MSP and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings launched the event and outlined the importance of this topic, commenting:

“Our climate targets are ambitious because they have to be. The Climate Crisis is the greatest challenge of our times but it also represents a great opportunity for Scotland to do well and for Scotland to lead the way in tackling the climate emergency.”

Attendees included representatives from stakeholder organisations as well as Glasgow City Council

Heat Networks refer to the installation of large, insulated heating pipes, providing sustainable and energy-efficient heating to homes and businesses. Networks are fed by a centralised system, via either dedicated production or by harnessing energy from industry or urban infrastructure.

The event highlighted the prospect of the installation of Heat Networks using Glasgow as a case study. Glasgow’s status as Scotland’s largest city and the high emission levels from the city’s buildings made it an ideal candidate for the collective meeting of sustainable heating experts. The resulting report “Harnessing Value for Scotland’s Communities from Heat Networks” highlights the negative potential impacts of climate change on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Glasgow, with output projected to worsen without major changes to climate control. Scotland’s economy could however gain up to 28,000 jobs through the transition to heat networks, with these concentrated in city regions although the net gain will be closer to 16,400 as 11,600 jobs could also be lost as a result of decarbonisation.

The Scottish government has pledged £1.8bn to help roll out measures to ensure energy efficiency and zero-emission heating, to support Scotland in reaching its net-zero target by the year 2045, and Glasgow’s earlier target of 2030. The Heat Networks (Scotland) Act seeks to support the development and integration of sustainable heating networks. The Scottish Government has created a £300m fund to kickstart investment in the sector and to stimulate supply chains with associated job creation. This coincides with a nationwide assessment of Heat Network zones, which is outlining the areas deemed to benefit the most from these projects.

The discussion concluded that the introduction of sustainable heat networks requires consistent, committed support from all stakeholders involved. The event report highlights the introduction of heating networks cannot be achieved without investment into new and existing infrastructure such as powerful new 5G cellular networks capable of supporting the communication and automation required by the infrastructure.

Partnerships across the public, private and community sectors will be hugely important to meeting these targets. If we get it right collectively Scotland can prosper with jobs and skills”Harnessing Value for Scotland’s Communities from Heat Networks

The report also found a need to communicate the benefits to the general public to gain support for investment. The report highlights some of the gaps in existing policies and the work required to bridge these, bringing Scotland and potentially Glasgow, to the forefront of sustainable heat networks, and crucially helping us reach our stringent net-zero targets.

Read the report here