Our Plan for Scotland

Warm homes and renewable heat for businesses

Warm homes and renewable heat for business

We will firmly establish improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes as a national infrastructure project.

We will expand government actions to address fuel poverty and create warm homes. To abolish fuel poverty will need a variety of new initiatives which will also meet our aims on warm homes and climate change.

We will put the focus on renewable heat, adopting the first ever industrial heat strategy, promoting combined heat and power, using waste heat more effectively and developing geothermal heat from disused coalmines.

We will give the power to local authorities to tackle fuel poverty in their areas through better planning for district heating, renewable energy technology in new social housing and good energy performance in new buildings.

To support renewable heat we will:

  • Take forward the recommendations of the Expert Commission on District Heating;
  • Support district heating schemes, help businesses convert to renewable heat and seize the potential of local biomass and geothermal energy through new loans and grants from the Fit For The Future Investment Fund;
  • Support an expansion of anaerobic digestion – the technology that processes organic waste and creates heat energy for local needs – through a suitable planning framework and potential increased support from the Green Investment Bank;
  • Expand into the public sector demand management technologies to reduce overall energy consumption;
  • We will give powers to local authorities to create a Municipal Energy Strategy to help them support, through planning and investment, the development of renewable heat networks.

To support warmer homes we will:

  • Establish catch-up zones for warmer homes and to tackle fuel poverty in remote and island areas which have fallen behind and need more flexibility in the installation requirements;
  • Introduce new building standards for greater energy efficiency, restarting the review cancelled by the Scottish Government in September 2015, with an ongoing plan to reflect the experience in Denmark where standards were increased incrementally over decades, ensuring that future home owners and tenants benefit from substantially warmer and cheaper-to-heat homes;
  • Use new powers transferring to the Scottish Parliament to shape the Energy Company Obligation in order to combine support from power companies and the Scottish Government for homeowners and sitting tenants to make their homes warmer through grants;
  • Phase in a new regulation to make sure all newly-let properties achieve energy rating C, in order to reflect that landlords have the capital asset and resources to make the investment, whereas tenants do not;
  • Make sure new social housing incorporates renewable energy systems as a condition of funding support from public money;
  • Use the new power for the Scottish Parliament to hold OFGEM to account, to press for new governance arrangements for renewable heat to make sure people connected to renewable heat networks get a good deal;
  • Encourage local authorities to use their extended powers of competence and their Municipal Energy Strategy to investigate using their own renewable energy generation to provide low tariffs for those in fuel poverty;
  • Use additional money to create warm homes from a proportion of the Fit For The Future Investment Plan;
  • Incorporate these ambitions into a Warm Homes Act to secure the growth of district heating and renewable heat, and help to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.