Heat accounts for over 55% of primary energy use in Scotland and approximately 47% of CO2 emissions, broadly consistent with the picture for heating (and cooling) across the UK and the rest of Europe. The Scottish Government's 2015 Heat Policy Statement states that the challenge facing Scotland is to
"...largely decarbonise its heat system by 2050, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions".
Affordable heat is also a key priority if fuel poverty is to be eradicated. Together with energy efficiency and waste reduction measures to reduce the need for heat, there is a need for the development and implementation of low carbon heat techniologies such as renewable gas (biomethane), biomass, solar thermal (see above), geothermal energy, heat pumps, heat storage systems, improved combined heat and power (CHP) systems, smart thermal grids and sensor and control systems.
Innovate-UK has set up an Energy Systems Catapult based in Birmingham that will include heat within its remit. Scottish Enterprise recently commissioned an analysis of the Scottish company base and market opportunities for low carbon heat. One of the key challenges identified by the study was a lack of R&D strength. There was a recognition of the need for sector and/or technology specific networks linking Scottish companies, research establishments and academic institutions, particularly regarding early stage support in the development of new products and services.