Heat networks delivery plan

Sets out how provisions of the Heat Networks Scotland Act 2021 and wider policy will contribute to increasing heat networks 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.

Responses to the Draft HNDP consultation were generally supportive of data collection, noting that it could:

  • enable the ongoing development and efficient operation of the heat networks market in Scotland, including opportunities for integration;
  • help improve the Scotland Heat Map; and
  • support the development of public sector climate change strategies and reporting.

Respondents to the consultation noted that currently data in the sector is poor and that improving data standards and data availability would require significant support, including financial and resourcing support. Learning from countries with developed heat networks markets was also suggested as useful.

A number of different types of respondent highlighted the burden of data collection, some noting that additional burdens on operators would likely have cost impacts on end users/customers. Integration into existing data collection practices and automated data collection processes were also suggested as valuable and potentially a route to reducing the burden.

Respondents identified data missing from the proposed list which fell into the following four categories: project data; end user/customer data, including pricing structures; energy data; and other data, including number of jobs.

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[18]. 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, and in developing this regulatory system we will consider ways to reduce the burden of such reporting on the sector. 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.

In our onward work to improve data on the heat networks market we will consider in more detail the responses to the Draft HNDP.

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



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