Low carbon heat

Heat is the single largest source of carbon emissions in Scotland and the largest element of our energy demand. With the lowest rate of decarbonised heat of any country in Europe,  Scotland is poised to rapidly scale up the expansion of its low carbon heat capacity and tech solutions.

Leading on climate change

Scotland is committed to decarbonising its economy for the benefit of our environment, our people and our prosperity. Scotland was the first country in the world to declare a climate change emergency and the Scottish Government has shown global leadership in setting world-leading targets.

75% reduction in emissions

Scotland has the toughest statutory target in the world for a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

£2 billion public finance

has been allocated long-term to a new public investment bank to decarbonise Scotland’s economy.

£3bn green investment opportunity

launched by the Scottish Government to attract new low carbon investments into Scotland.

Scotland’s low carbon heat challenge

  • Heat currently accounts for 52% of Scotland's energy demand and is the single largest source of emissions (41% indicative)
  • Scotland's renewable electricity (as a percentage of gross consumption) is the second highest in the EU
  • By contrast, at 5.9%, heat supplied by renewables in Scotland (as a percentage of gross consumption) is the lowest in the EU
  • 80% of Scotland’s domestic energy used is for heating and hot water
  • By 2032, 35% of domestic buildings must be heated by low carbon technologies
  • By 2024 all new homes must use low carbon heating  ​

View Scotland's heat map

Growing market opportunities for low carbon heat solutions

Heat pumps

To decarbonise heat, it’s estimated that more than one million heat pumps need to be installed in the UK each year by the mid-2030s, totalling 26 million by 2050.

The heat pump market in Scotland, including manufacturing, components, installation and servicing is set to ramp up to meet its ambition to become a net zero society by 2045. In the following webinar recording, John Maslen, project manager at ParkPower, summarises Scotland’s unique position and the wider ground source heat pump opportunity.

Watch the webinar now

Heat networks

There are more than 800 district and communal heating networks in Scotland, supplying more than 25,000 households and about another 100 networks supply commercial and public sector buildings. Scotland has favourable locations for heat network development in urban areas with high density for regeneration.

If reducing emissions is the question, are heat pumps the answer? Scotland's low carbon specialists open the discussion in the following webinar recording:

Watch the webinar now

Minewater geothermal

Using geothermal heat from minewater could help reduce Scotland's greenhouse emissions. With its ambitious climate change legislation coupled with the potential availability of 600km3 of disused mine workings in the Midland Valley (in theory meeting 8% of Scotland's domestic heating requirement and up to 40% of Glasgow's heat demand) Scotland has the potential to lead the world in minewater geothermal technologies.

Hear from Scotland's low carbon specialists, from industry and academia, discuss the possibilities in the following webinar recording:

Watch the webinar now

Funding and support for low carbon heat projects

Strong government programmes and public funding will assure you of Scotland's commitment to driving market growth in low carbon heating, including: 

  • Scotland’s Programme for Government 2020–  a commitment to secure investment of £1.6 billion in heat and energy efficiency in our homes and buildings 
  • £120 million Heat Transition Deal – includes a £50 million Heat Networks Early Adopter Challenge Fund for local authorities and a £10 million fund to support hydrogen heat demonstrator projects 
  • Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) – speeds the development and delivery of significant low carbon energy projects across Scotland
  • District Heating Loan Fund – offers low interest unsecured loans of up to £1 million, with larger loans available on a co-investment basis 
  • District heating relief – rate relief guaranteed until 2032, providing certainty to investors  
  • Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) - offers a range of financial support to local energy and heat projects 

Low carbon heat projects underway in Scotland

Low carbon heat test and research facilities in Scotland

Scotland offers unique facilities to help your business apply new low carbon heat technology expertise, including: 

As well as extensive research facilities, Scotland’s infrastructure and geography provide an ideal testing ground for low carbon heat technologies. 

Our varied geography includes densely populated urban centres, remote islands, off-grid rural communities and former coal-mining industrial areas. While our vast chemicals, whisky, food and drink, and manufacturing industries offer even more opportunities for industrial heat innovation. 

A supportive ecosystem to help grow your low carbon business

Scotland is a place where businesses are supported and the entrepreneurial spirit is strong. This ethos underpins our strong ecosystem of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces across the country, which provide inspiring environments for businesses to spark ideas and find like-minded talent.  

Beyond academia, we know that industry engagement is central in using research to solve real-world problems. That’s why our research excellence is aligned with – and supported by – a network of innovation centres that have been designed by industry for industry-led collaborations.  

  • Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) – Europe’s largest energy research partnership with specialist expertise in heating/cooling technologies, thermal energy storage and supply/demand mapping 
  • Construction Scotland Innovation Centre – Industry-led centre to support businesses to deliver transformational change in construction, including increasing efficiency  
  • Scottish Energy Centre – Renewable energy and sustainable design in construction, including thermal simulation 
  • CENSIS – Scotland's Innovation Centre for accelerating business growth through sensing, imaging and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, including an IoT project to tackle fuel poverty 
  • The Data Lab – Industry-led innovation centre that enables new data science capabilities to develop in a collaborative environment, including a data-informed approach to heating systems  

Help build Scotland's heat network capacity

Watch this webinar to find out about Scotland's ambitions to rapidly scale up the expansion of its low carbon heat network and the support behind this development.

Low carbon heat in Scotland guide (PDF, 2.3MB)

Got a question about the benefits of setting up your low carbon business in Scotland? Talk to our advisers.

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