1. Chair's foreword
The next phase in reducing carbon emissions across the Scottish economy will be the most challenging yet. We are at the point at which net-zero policies are beginning to drive changes in our homes, our places of work and how we travel, requiring us to alter the way we live our lives. The challenges will continue to be technical, commercial and financial but more and more they will also be about people and the choices they make and will require government, industry and the public to come together in a common endeavour.
Nowhere is that need for such a common endeavour more clearly seen than in the decarbonisation of heat overall and in the heat pump sector in particular.
The advice of the Climate Change Committee to the Scottish Government is clear: that the pathway to net zero for Scotland requires a very rapid large-scale deployment of heat pumps. It is to the credit of the Scottish Government that in response it has committed to doubling the number of zero emission heating systems installed in Scotland every year for the next 5 years. The very large majority of these systems will be individual air and ground source heat pumps, or connections to heat networks powered by larger heat pumps.
Such extremely rapid scaling in the use of heat pumps will require a massive and well-planned effort, especially as it starts from a very low base with only a few thousand heat pumps installed annually in Scotland at present. The public, as end users of heat pumps, will clearly also need to be closely engaged and supportive.
This is the sort of challenge where a sector deal involving key stakeholders in a broad partnership can make all the difference, ensuring that all the necessary building blocks are in place to drive rapid progress to a specific goal, including the necessary public engagement. The Scottish Government set up the Heat Pump Sector Deal Expert Advisory Group to define what is needed for such a deal in this case.
In drawing up this interim report the group has set out what will be needed to quickly develop a high-volume heat pump supply chain in Scotland and what will need to be done to equally rapidly develop the necessary markets for this supply chain: the report also states what different stakeholders will need to do as part of such a sector deal and how consumers and householders will need to be supported as heat pump usage increases rapidly. The recommendations form an integrated suite whose elements will reinforce each other to move the whole sector forward.
The Expert Advisory Group includes very significant expertise and experience and has spent a good deal of time considering and drawing up the recommendations in this report. In doing so we were very conscious that this is not, like most policy areas, a matter of choice. The Scottish Government must meet its net zero targets, both for the sake of everybody in Scotland and to deliver its contribution to international carbon emission reduction efforts. It follows it must also succeed in decarbonising heating by facilitating the rapid deployment of large numbers of heat pumps. However, we are confident that if the recommendations made are all implemented, Scotland can rise to this challenge and that this will safeguard and create large numbers of jobs and so boost the economy.
Energy Saving Trust