The Special Working Group and Expert Commission on District Heating was established in 2014 to examine Scotland’s regulatory environment and recommend steps to support and promote district heating.
The group found that Scotland’s district heating sector is small (in 2011 district heating supplied less than 1% of the nation’s heat demand) but growing, with developments driven largely by public sector investment and ‘committed individuals acting as champions of the technology’. Thus, the report concluded that sector growth is ‘unlikely to be achieved through market forces alone’.
It added that Scottish district heating systems are generally islanded, with ‘very few conurbation-wide networks as there are in other parts of Europe’.
The group recommended regulatory steps at the local and national levels. Nationally, it said government and industry should develop technical standards for district heating systems and establish strategic objectives. Locally, it recommended that authorities produce strategic plans for district heating, and that local authorities be empowered to require buildings with significant heat loads to connect to district heating networks.