The Scottish government has announced ambitious plans to install low- and zero-carbon heating systems in one million homes and 50,000 non-domestic buildings by the end of the decade.
Currently, homes and workplaces are responsible for 21% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from gas central heating systems.
The Heat in Buildings Strategy, published on Friday, outlines plans to “rapidly scale up” the installation of electric heat pumps and district heating networks in Scotland. Under the strategy, installations of these green heating systems, replacing gas boilers, will double every year until 2030.
While some homes will be fitted with electric heat pumps, others can be heated with district heating networks, which harness waste heat from industrial and natural sources. Scottish Renewables has previously said district heating networks could heat 460,000 Scottish homes by 2030.
Under the government's plans, by 2045, the year Scotland hopes to hit net-zero, two million homes and 100,000 non-domestic properties will have been converted to clean heating systems.
The Scottish government is committing £1.6 billion over the next five years to convert heating systems and increase buildings’ energy efficiency.
Holyrood will launch a Green Heat Finance Task Force to attract private investment in the space and develop a new regulatory framework that will require property owners to take action over time to install zero-carbon heating systems and energy efficiency measures. The total bill for overhauling heat is expected to be upwards of £33 billion.
The Scottish government is also consulting on its New Build Heat Standard, which would require all new-build homes are fitted with zero-emission heating systems by 2024—a year earlier than in the rest of the UK.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Reducing emissions from our homes and buildings is one of the most important things we can do to help end Scotland’s contribution to climate change, given that heating accounts for more than half the energy we consume as a society.
“Over the next 24 years we will transform Scotland’s homes and workplaces so they are warmer, greener and more efficient.”
To further tackle emissions from heating, the Scottish government is also investing green hydrogen, which can replace natural gas to fuel boilers and theoretically be delivered over the same infrastructure. It hopes to develop 5GW of renewable hydrogen capacity by 2030, enough to heat 1.8 million homes, and 25GW by 2045, with surplus hydrogen destined for export to other European countries.
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