Investment opportunities ‘heating up’ for district network

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland


The heat is on to develop capacity for low carbon heat and support the expansion of district heat networks across Scotland, with the support of the Scottish Government’s Heat Network Partnership, of which Zero Waste Scotland is a member.

There are tangible opportunities for businesses with a strong track record in developing district heating systems to invest in a fast-growing area of energy policy in Scotland which will help secure local energy provision as well as contributing to meeting climate change targets – heat is estimated to be responsible for 47% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers are keen to make progress, with Scotland’s Heat Generation Policy Statement proposing new targets for district heating – an overall target of 1.5 TWh of heat a year to be delivered to homes, businesses and public sector buildings by 2020, including 40,000 homes to be supplied with affordable low carbon heat through heat networks.

The Heat Network Partnership has now revealed that this agenda offers a significant opportunity for potential investors. With just over 100 known heat network projects identified delivering just half of them would offer an ultimate investment opportunity of between £100m and £240m comprising heat plants, heat distribution networks and end-user connections.

One such is Queens Quay, a brown field regeneration site on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow. The scheme would involve the construction of +1000 houses and flats including socially-rented homes, a council-funded care home, a health clinic, a leisure centre and a commercial zone. A Zero Waste Scotland feasibility study estimated that fully built, a heat network could deliver almost 20,000 MWh of heat from a water source heat pump as its delivery technology resulting in an estimated 64% reduction in CO2 emissions per year against the business as usual case where homes would be heated by individual gas boilers.

To assist would-be investors the Heat Network Partnership’s has made available the full project directory at With both policy commitment and project opportunities in place this agenda is heating up – and as the latest figures reveal, so is the investment potential. Find out more here.

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