We’ll be taking a closer look over the coming days (weeks maybe – it’s 171 pages!), however in the first instance we thought we would share one or two things which caught our eye.
The Scottish Government is proposing a target of 80% of Scotland’s domestic heat to come from low-carbon heat technologies. The use of the word “domestic” means this does not include commercial or industrial heat, and “low-carbon” does not mean renewable, but it nonetheless looks like a transformative target. We are not aware of figures which show the current level of domestic heat demand met by low carbon technologies, but the Climate Change Committee’s 2016 progress report on renewable heat estimated that 3.7-3.8% of (all) heat demand was met from renewable sources in 2014. So there’s a long way to go. We’ll take a look at the implications of this target in future blogs.
Regulating District Heating
One of the policies that will be used to achieve the heat target will include a focus on district heating. Interestingly, the draft plan indicates a willingness to regulate district heating. What is unusual is that these proposals come ahead of proposals to regulate the sector in England. Since devolution, the more usual state of affairs is for Scotland to adopt the regulatory blueprint development in England, and then give it a Scottish flavour by tweaking it here and there. It is therefore something of a bold step for the Scottish Government to seek to set out a regulatory framework for the district heating sector in advance of England.
Government Owned Energy Company
Yes, the Scottish Government is to consider setting up a government owned energy company. The only hint as to the role of the new company is that its purposes is to support further decarbonisation of the electricity sector – presumably the Energy Strategy will contain further proposals.
Scottish Renewable Energy Bond
The Scottish Government is to consider launching a renewable energy bond. Again, there are no details. But perhaps the bond could support further investment in new developments on behalf of communities, which could help support the Scottish Government’s aspirations for local communities to have a stake in new renewables developments.
Measures to support onshore wind
The draft plan mentions “measures to support” onshore wind. The wording is very broad – and could mean nothing more than support for larger turbines through the planning system – but the phraseology suggests there may be more.