Chilly Scots use half of energy on heat

Cars and lighting are often the first things that spring to mind when it comes to cutting carbon emissions - but a new report has found that Scotland uses more energy for heating and hot water than for transport and electricity combined.

The study, by the Forum for Renewable Energy in Scotland (FREDS), urges the Scottish government to stimulate development of a renewable heat industry in the country.

FREDS reported that Scotland’s 2.4m households each use an average of 20 megawatt hours of heat energy per year, and estimated the country’s annual heat usage is about 57% of total energy demand.

It said ministers should analyse potential heat markets to set an appropriate target for renewable heat, develop a wider heat strategy, and improve the nation’s existing building stock to maximise uptake of renewable heat such as biomass, solar or heat pumps.

Jason Ormiston, chief executive of Scottish Renewables – one of the organisations participating in FREDS – said: “Scotland needs to move quickly on delivering sustainable heat solutions if it is to deliver its climate change objectives.

“For too long the way we use and generate heat in Scotland has played second fiddle to other energy initiatives.”

The Scottish government welcomed the findings. Energy minister Jim Mather said: “Renewable heat is massively under utilised. Scotland has the resources and the talent to lead the rest of the UK in developing a vibrant renewable heat market.

“I am in no doubt a developing renewable heat market will contribute to sustainable economic growth.

“We can create jobs and services in renewable heating while cutting emissions and tackling climate change.”

He said the report’s recommendations would be considered as ministers develop an action plan for renewable heat in Scotland.

The government is currently also consulting on proposals for a Climate Change Bill, including a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

FREDS is comprised of representatives of a number of groups including Scottish Renewables, Friends of the Earth, Scottish Enterprise and the renewables industry.

Kate Martin

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