Scottish Finance Secretary pledged investment of £137 million for energy-efficiency measures and decarbonisation of heat in 2018-19. Great strides have been made in recent years to increase the amount of electricity from renewable sources, yet only five per cent of our heat comes from renewables. Since 2011, there has been a UK-wide support scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Despite the scheme successfully kick-starting the adoption of renewable heat from a near standing start, the majority of this has been in areas of low housing density or in agricultural industries off the gas grid. There is no golden technology that will address all the issues. To hit green goals will require our buildings and industries to be more heat-efficient. We will have to recover waste heat from industry and deliver it to homes using district heating networks. We must also find ways to harness new sources of heat, such as deep geothermal and recovered heat from abandoned mine workings. To do all this we first need to further develop knowledge and understanding among those responsible for our built environment. We then need to invest in pilot projects to demonstrate what is possible, to learn how best to apply existing technology in the Scottish context and to allow people to come and see what can be achieved in the delivery of low-carbon heat. Our Scandinavian neighbours are already making big headway, with 70 per cent of heat in Sweden coming from renewable sources. This funding is well placed to help Scotland achieve the same result.
Scotsman 26th Dec 2017 read more »