Last edited 25 Feb 2021

Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill



[edit] Introduction

On 23 February 2021, the Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament. This legislation was designed to help cut emissions, reduce fuel poverty and create green jobs by accelerating the deployment of heat networks.

Scotland is the first country in the UK to legislate to support the growth of heat networks, through which clusters of homes and businesses get heating from a central source rather than individual boilers - ideally making it safer and more efficient for customers.

[edit] Overview

The Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill creates a licencing system to drive up standards across the sector and encourage consumer confidence. It also establishes rights for heat network developers and operators to compete with other utilities in order to make investment in the sector more attractive and encourage further growth.

A consent system will be introduced to make sure that new networks are developed in areas where they will have most benefit and are tailored to its needs.

It is estimated that heat networks will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 90,000 cars by 2050 and generate annual fuel savings of around £130 for every household that connects to a heat network.

[edit] What are heat networks?

Heat networks are made up of insulated pipes and central heat generation systems which make heat in the form of hot water or steam that is distributed to a number of local end users.

Heat networks are often:

Up until the passage of the Bill, the heat network sector was not regulated. The Bill puts in place regulations relating to:

All public sector building owners will need to assess their buildings to check if they are suitable to connect to a heat network.

[edit] Government statements

Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said, “Heat networks have huge potential to reduce emissions in our homes and buildings by providing more efficient, environmentally friendly solutions. The Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill unlocks this potential and marks the beginning of what will be a period of transformational change in how we heat our homes and business premises.

Heat networks fit the profile of the sort of project that can make a significant, near-term contribution to our green [post-pandemic] recovery while providing long-term employment in local communities. The development of this sector will, crucially, provide ongoing support to achieve our target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Scotland has the most ambitious legislative framework for emissions reduction in the World, which is why we have also, through this Bill, set stretching targets for the expansion of heat networks to ensure that we build early momentum and give as much clarity to potential suppliers as we can.”

Detailed guidance and regulations required to implement the Bill will continue to be developed.

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[edit] External resources

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