Heat networks delivery plan - draft: consultation

This draft heat network delivery plan sets out how the provisions of the Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021, and related policies, will contribute to increased heat networks across Scotland. It also outlines the proposed regulatory regime for the heat networks sector in Scotland.

Chapter 7: Monitoring and reporting

Review of the Delivery Plan and reporting progress against targets

As required by the 2021 Act, we will review the Heat Networks Delivery Plan and report every 2 years on the heat output of heat networks and emissions savings.

In order to underpin this national review and progress towards targets, heat network operators will need to report key information to the licensing authority. Data reporting requirements will be developed as part of work to develop the regulatory system and will be subject to consultation in due course. We will work with the sector to ensure these requirements are proportionate and do not put an undue burden on heat network operators.

Monitoring the wider heat networks sector

As the heat network sector develops in Scotland it will be important that we gather data and insights to better understand wider aspects of the heat network market and opportunities around it. We believe additional to reporting on heat produced and circulated by heat networks, it would be valuable to monitor a number of other key parameters, including:

  • heat connected to and available to networks but not used
  • distribution losses
  • heat being used by heat network customers
  • number of connections (customers) – domestic and non-domestic

Furthermore, to ensure heat networks effectively integrate into the wider energy system, and to identify additional opportunities for integration and efficiency we believe it would be valuable to understand:

  • linear heat densities of networks: an important feedback loop for assumptions on viable heat networks and identification / review of heat network zones
  • storage capacity on heat networks: for understanding the role that heat networks play in providing an integrated low emission energy system, in particular in reducing peak electrical demand (and the associated generation and transmission costs of this)
  • pipework (length, geolocation): providing an indication of the overall spread of heat networks, potential maintenance associated with it, etc. It is also important for heat network operators and other development organisations to be able to accurately locate pipework through appropriate electronic geographic information
  • operating temperatures (flow and return): which can have an impact on distribution losses, if and how a heat source can be used, requirements for substations and subnetworks, and the ability to (or amendments in order for) buildings to connect
  • the parasitic electricity consumption (electricity consumed to pump water around heat networks) identifying additional (non-heat) energy losses from heat networks.

Data for reporting and monitoring

There are limitations to the data currently available on Heat Networks. There are a number of potential options for improving the data used to report against targets – both heat networks targets and their contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets - as well as wider monitoring of heat networks in Scotland. These include surveys on heat networks and non-domestic buildings and options related to existing and future regulatory systems[12]. The quality of these data may vary and will be available potentially at very different times.

As a starting point we will work with our delivery partners to survey heat network operators to support the provision of key data for some of the largest sites in Scotland, improving centrally held data during 2022.

Where possible we will seek to embed collection of wider networks sector data into the regulatory system provided by the 2021 Act. Where this is not possible, we will work with the UK Government and key stakeholders to develop routes to report on and monitor the market.

As appropriate key heat networks data will be included as part of our ongoing programme to improvement of the Scotland Heat Map.

Q12: What are your views on the proposal to gather data and wider information about heat networks in Scotland? Please also state if you think there anything missing from the proposed list for data collection.



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