The Scottish Greens have called for more national and local investment in district heating schemes – a mature technology widely used to heat communities in other European countries.
Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone highlighted the success of the Combined Heat and Power schemes at the University of Edinburgh, and the potential of large development sites.
She said: “Over the next 40 years, it’s estimated that £100 billion pounds worth of heat equipment will be replaced in Scotland. We have a highly centralised energy market, dominated by a few companies, which has hampered the ability of new companies to deliver the levels of district heating that we see in Norway or Holland.
“Councils have a huge opportunity to invest locally and secure a lasting income by selling electricity produced in association with heat, as well as tackling fuel poverty and cutting climate emissions.”
“In decades to come, for example, we’ll think it incredible that a housing development of 70 flats had to have 70 boilers.
“Efficient district heating technologies are ready to be rolled out in Scotland, but we need to see more ambition from councils to make this happen.”
Meanwhile, SNP MSP Rob Gibson has asked the Scottish Government to detail what progress it is making on reducing the transmission and access charges to the grid for marine and islands renewable energy.
And a spokesman for a Scottish energy industry association – financially supported by Scottish Enterprise and which is based in Glasgow – added: “With heat accounting for more than half of the energy Scotland uses every day, we have a steep hill to climb if our ambitious renewable heat target is to be met.
“In order for 11% of our heat to come from renewables by 2020, industry and government need to come together to deliver many of the proposals contained in the draft Heat Generation Policy Statement.
“We need district heating, biomass, geothermal energy, solar thermal systems and heat pumps to become commonplace in homes, businesses and on industrial sites across Scotland – a process which will create hundreds of jobs.”