1. Brief Summary
The Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021 (“the 2021 Act”) sets targets for the amount of thermal energy to be supplied by heat networks, requiring this to reach 2.6 Terawatt hours (TWh) of output by 2027 and 6 TWh of output by 2030. These figures equate to approximately 3% and 8% of current non-electrical heat demand respectively.
Under Section 92 of the 2021 Act, Scottish Ministers must – by 1 October 2023 – lay a draft of the Scottish statutory instrument containing regulations specifying a 2035 target relating to the combined supply of thermal energy by heat networks in Scotland (referred to below as the 2035 target).
Section 92 of the 2021 Act also states that Scottish Ministers may modify any heat network target specified within the 2021 Act.
Consulting on the 2035 target was one of the actions set out in the Heat Networks Delivery Plan, which sits in the context of wider heat decarbonisation policy, in particular, the Heat in Buildings Strategy. This Strategy highlighted that over the coming years the Scottish Government proposes a focus on so-called no-and low-regrets strategic technologies. These are the technological solutions where cost uncertainty is low and we already understand the costs of installation and running costs for consumers. Heat networks is one such technology outlined in the strategy. Detail on the other technologies (including energy efficiency) and the approach to those can be found in the Strategy.
A Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment and a screening report were carried out for the Heat in Buildings Strategy and the Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill respectively, therefore reference to previous reports has been made where appropriate.
Our ambition for the heat networks sector includes, as set out in the Heat Networks Delivery Plan, that the sector delivers affordable clean heat, supporting delivery of emission reduction and fuel poverty targets.
Our Fuel Poverty Strategy was published in December 2021 and sets out actions to tackle each of the four drivers of fuel poverty: poor energy efficiency of the home; high energy costs; low household income; and how energy is used in the home. We will work with the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel, appointed by Ministers in December 2021, as we bring forward regulation under the 2021 Act so that it supports efforts to eradicate fuel poverty and to ensure it does not adversely impact those in or at risk of fuel poverty.
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