Heat networks - thermal energy target 2035: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to our consultation on the 2035 target for the amount of heat to be supplied by heat networks.

1. Introduction


The Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021 ("the 2021 Act") sets targets for the combined supply of thermal energy 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.

Section 92(2) of the 2021 Act states that Scottish Ministers must, by 1 October 2023, lay a draft of a Scottish statutory instrument containing regulations specifying a 2035 target relating to the combined supply of thermal energy by heat networks in Scotland.

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.

The consultation

The consultation on the 2035 target for the combined supply of thermal energy by heat networks opened on 16 December 2022 and closed on 11 March 2023. It can be found at:

2035 target for the amount of heat to be supplied by heat networks - Scottish Government - Citizen Space (consult.gov.scot)

Views were invited on the following three open questions relating to the target:

  • What is your opinion of the proposal to set the 2035 target for the combined supply of thermal energy supplied from heat networks to "at least 7 TWh" of output?
  • Are there particular considerations in setting this target that may help to reduce the depth and/or rate of fuel poverty?

Are there any other issues that you would like to highlight in relation to the 2035 heat network target?

The evidence gathered from this consultation will inform the legislation we will introduce to the Scottish Parliament for its approval.

Number and profile of respondents

In total, 28 valid responses to the consultation were received. 26 responses were received via the Scottish Government's consultation hub (Citizen Space) and two were received via direct correspondence.

A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is shown in the table below and a full list of organisations that responded to this consultation is provided in Annex A.

Respondent type


Community group


Consumer Advice, Advocacy or Campaigning


Energy Services Company




Local Authority


Professional or Representative Body


All respondents


Analysis and reporting

The analyst team developed a qualitative coding framework based on key themes identified in responses to each question. This framework facilitated thematic analysis of the consultation responses.

The results of this analysis are presented in the remainder of this report. Chapter 2 summarises respondents' views on the proposed target (consultation questions 1 and 3). Chapter 3 summarises the issues raised by respondents' with respect to fuel poverty (consultation question 2).

Where appropriate, quotes from individuals and organisations have been included in this report, to illustrate key points and to highlight useful examples, insights, and contextual information. Specific organisations are named only if permission to do so was granted. Full responses to the consultation, where permission for publication was granted, can be found on the Scottish Government's website.

Limitations of the analysis

Anyone may express their views in a public consultation. Individuals and organisations with an interest in the consultation topic are more likely to respond than those without. This self-selection means the respondents' views do not necessarily represent the views of the population.

There are other instances where respondents make factual claims, but do not give evidence to support their statements. Here, we have used language to highlight that the comments are the belief or perception of the respondent.


Email: heatnetworks@gov.scot

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