Green Heat Finance Taskforce minutes: May 2023

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 May 2023

Attendees and apologies

  • Patrick Harvie MSP – Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenant’s Rights (Meeting Chair) 
  • Kirsty Hamilton – Independent 
  • Lewis Shand Smith – Energy Consumers’ Commission 
  • Sandy Macdonald – Scottish Financial Enterprise 
  • Andy Kerr – Climate KIC 
  • Simon Horner – Green Finance Institute 
  • Ian Cochran – Edinburgh Uni. Business School/Institute for Climate Economics 
  • Eddie McAvinchey – Scottish National Investment Bank 
  • Rufus Grantham – Bankers Without Boundaries 
  • David Steen – UKGBC 
  • Catherine Williams – SG, Deputy Director for Heat in Buildings Delivery 
  • Gareth Fenney – SG, Head of Head of Heat Networks & Investment Unit 
  • Karen Major – SG, Heat in Buildings Bill Team Leader  
  • Amy Tickell – SG, Head of Heat in Buildings Investment Team 
  • Ciara O’Connor – SG, Social Housing Decarbonisation Team Leader  
  • Edwina Ryan – SG, Private Secretary to Mr. Harvie 


  • Karl Reilly – SG, Heat in Buildings Future Finance Team Leader
  • Michelle Rayneard – SG, Heat in Buildings Future Finance Team 
  • Peter Irving – SG, Heat in Buildings Division Future Finance Team


  • Sara Thiam Scottish Council for Development and Industry (Co-Chair)
  • Emma Harvey-Smith Green Finance Institute
  • Simon McWhirter – UKGBC  

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed members to the eighth meeting of the Green Heat Finance Taskforce (GHFT) the main focus of which was the draft Interim Report.   

Summary note and actions points from previous meeting, including member notification of any conflicts of interest 

All members confirmed they were content with the Summary note and Action Points from the previous meeting of 18 January 2023.  No conflicts of interest were raised. 

Secretariat update –Scottish Government 

The Minister informed Members of progress with the Consultation on Proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill, noting that timing of the Consultation launch was still to be determined.  He advised this will not impact on the publication of the Taskforce’s Interim Report. 

Secretariat provided a brief update on the previous day’s Equity Release Summit in London; the UK Government’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce; and the First Minister’s Net Zero Investor Panel (FMIP) including interactions with this Taskforce. 

Interim report 

Secretariat thanked members for their input to initial drafts of the report and then gave a presentation outlining the draft interim report’s key messages.   

This was followed by group discussion where points raised included:

  • being clear on audience(s) for the report and tailoring how key messages were articulated accordingly
  • setting out illustrative case studies to outline the journey we want people to take with regards heating their homes, and how currently available private and public financing options can support this
  • view that finance was not the key challenge, rather lack of consumer demand was the critical issue to address to unlock greater private financing
  • recognition that finance alone would not solve the problem and that other inter-related factors like skills and trusted information provision are also vital (so need to signal more to what is in train to address those issues)  
  • report should acknowledge existing models and how they can be tweaked, but also that it is the Taskforce’s view that alternative models are needed
  • use report as prompt to stimulate action and initiate wider engagement
  • there would also be merit in exploring the use of demonstrators, showing real life examples already operating elsewhere

Several further proposed refinements were noted by the Secretariat, including the necessity of working with UK regulators as well as the UK Government, reflecting investor risks and further detail on the role of public support.

Action 1

Secretariat to update and amend Interim Report to reflect Members’ additional comments and feedback during course of meeting. 

Interim Report publication, communications and engagement 

Members discussed the next steps in supporting communications and post-publication engagement.  Key points made in the group discussion included:

  • having a high-level plan for Taskforce engagement
  • thinking of report as an opportunity to engage rather than broadcast and use it to start wider discussions, including potentially having members facilitate roundtables with their members and / or networks
  • pitch recommendations in a way that would invite discussion and identification of good practice examples
  • using post-publication engagement to start thinking about development of deliverable pilots and to mobilse the partnerships needed to deliver these

The Minister sought suggestions from Taskforce members for visits he might make over the summer recess to places that exemplify where the heat transition is already happening.  Members were also invited to promote the publication of the Interim Report through their own stakeholder networks at the appropriate time. 

Action 2

All to consider suitable examples for Ministerial summer tours. 

Action 3

All to consider and advise secretariat how they can cascade messages from the published report and mobilise wider networks to explore deliverability of financial options identified in it. 

GHFT Social Housing (Sub) Working Group 

It was agreed that this agenda item would be covered by correspondence. 

Future Taskforce meetings 

Members noted that the next Taskforce meeting would be held in Saint Andrew’s House on 5 July.  It was agreed that this meeting focus on:  

  • fiscal measures – via a presentation from the Existing Homes Alliance on research they have undertaken with EST
  • the Heat as a Service model – via a presentation from LCP Delta on the findings of their currently live research project  
  • an update on progress with Consultation on Proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill; and 
  • what a just transition to zero direct emissions heating means, including where public money is most needed to complement and / or stimulate the flow of private finance  

It was agreed that the July meeting would be extended to include a networking lunch to enable Members to take stock of what the Taskforce has covered so far and what issues remain to be considered in the run up to the Final Report. 

Action 4

Secretariat to arrange for extension of 5 July meeting, to include lunch for attending Members. 

The focus of the taskforce meeting in September was agreed as being around place-based models, while October’s meeting would necessarily focus on the production and finalisation of the Taskforce’s Final Report. 

Any other business  

It was noted that the next meeting of the First Minister’s Investor Panel was scheduled for 20 June and suggested it might be useful to invite someone from the Panel to the networking lunch after the Taskforces next meeting.  

Members were invited to share any additional thoughts, issues and feedback with the Secretariat by email.   

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