Heat in buildings strategy: island communities impact assessment

Island communities impact assessment (ICIA) for the Heat in Buildings Strategy.

Annex E

Stakeholder feedback through Heat In Buildings Islands Workshop - summary

1. On-line consultation events on the draft Heat in Buildings Strategy were held with 38 island-specific stakeholders, including representatives from Orkney Council, Local Energy Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Lewis Citizen's Advice Bureau, EMEC Orkney, Isle of Skye Advice Service, Fair Isle Electricity Company, Foula Electricity, and West Highland Housing Association.

2. Specific questions asked at the workshop were:

  • Do you agree with the main areas for consideration in regards to potential impact to islands of the heat transition (i.e. electricity grid, buildings type, supply chain availability)?
  • Will the proposed solutions help to mitigate those impacts - are there others that can be taken forwards by us or other parties?
  • Are there any opportunities that the islands can capitalise on from the Heat in Buildings Strategy - how can these opportunities be supported?
  • How can we further engage island communities in the Heat transition?

3. Several issues were raised by attendees, broadly these spanned:

  • Supply chain, skills and cost
    • Getting skills and materials to the islands for installation and for maintenance (both costs and times due to islands locations and connectivity),
    • Limited accommodation provision for contractors,
    • Islands may not have adequate skills among local contractors (nuanced comments included: most training opportunities are only available on the mainland, local firms have been unable to tender for work as they are too small),
    • Fuel poverty rates on islands,
    • Resource is needed to develop local LHEES.
  • Building Stock
    • The diversity of the building stock on islands was presented as a specific challenge
    • SAP ratings were identified as challenging for islands (which in-turn relates to difficulties with EPC ratings and energy efficiency measures.
  • Electricity Grid
    • The capacity of island electricity networks could be problematic and not fit for purpose (for example a 1950s oil-fired power station is used on the Western Isles, and the many off-grid microgrids),
    • Seasonal peaks in heat demand (i.e. winter/tourist season).
  • Consumer protection
    • Consumer protection and quality assurance may be harder to ensure for island communities.
  • Just Transition
    • Potential concerns that islands communities may be 'left behind'.
  • Financing
    • Financial mechanisms can be challenging to navigate, especially if unique island contexts need to be considered.

4. In addition, proposed solutions to help mitigate any impacts we also highlighted by attendees:

Supply chain challenges:

  • Targeted support for smaller companies/supply chain to access the market through enterprise agencies,
  • Ensure that installer accreditation and training is available on the islands (not just mainland),
  • Warmer Homes Scotland was highlighted as a key programme to showcase and exemplify good installations and might help others in the supply chain get involved.

Bespoke Islands energy planning

  • Islands energy plans provide a clear opportunity for developing and delivering island-based solutions, with an opportunity to draw upon LHEES,
  • Islands could have alternative requirements or roll-out compared to the mainland, linked to local plans
  • Ensuring that islands are part of the ongoing public engagement
  • Potential further exploration of water source heat pumps and connections with existing island renewable energy generation as a way of lowering costs.


  • A previous loan application process for Electric Vehicles was good and could be replicated to support costs of low and zero-carbon heating systems.


Email: heatinbuildings@gov.scot

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