The Heat Policy Statement seeks to address three main issues: how to reduce the need for heat; how to supply heat cheaply and efficiently, and how to transition to renewable and low-carbon heat.

The Statement will inform discussion with energy experts, businesses and communities as the Government builds its policy proposals for 2016.

Scotlands plans to have 40,000 homes connected to district heating by 2020, and targets the “widespread uptake” of efficiency measures in homes and businesses.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and responsible for nearly half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, so the imperative to take action is very clear.

“We have already made significant progress and will continue to work together with energy experts, businesses and communities to move towards a largely decarbonised heat system by 2050.”

Industry reaction

Scottish Renewables chief executive Niall Stuart welcomed the Statement but warned that greening the heat system would be a long and complex transition.

“It’s clear that Government is starting to focus on the huge challenges in this area, and on the many different technologies which will be required to start the shift to cleaner energy sources, with measures such as an additional £3 million of funding for the Home Renewables Loans scheme in 2015/16, and recently-announced support for geothermal energy feasibility studies.

“The Government’s analysis suggests that around £100 billion will be spent replacing and installing heating and energy efficiency measures from now to 2050 anyway, so the challenge is to put in place incentives and polices to ensure that this is invested in sustainable technologies, and as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“We look forward to developing more ideas to achieve this in the coming months, and working with our members and government, at all levels, to kick-start Scotland’s transition to low carbon heat.”

The Scottish Government has already allocated over half a billion pounds since 2009 on a raft of fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes, helping nearly one third of Scottish households.

Brad Allen

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