The Scottish Government and Scotland’s Distribution Network Operators - SP Energy Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks - have come together to accelerate the decarbonisation of heating in Scotland through Project Re-Heat.

  • The Scottish Government, SP Energy Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have launched Project Re-Heat
  • The industry-first project will trial how electricity networks can respond to the increase in electricity demand created by decarbonising heat
  • By 2030 Scotland is expected see over a million homes converting their heating from fossil fuels to zero emissions systems such as heat pumps, and Scotland’s electricity networks need to be able to support this increased demand

The industry-first project will be led by SP Energy Networks and supported by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution to explore how electricity networks can manage the expected increase in electricity demand created by moving to electric heating solutions most efficiently and cost-effectively.

Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie said:

“Meeting our ambitious climate targets will require rapid reduction in carbon emissions across our homes and buildings.

“I am pleased the Scottish Government could support this innovative project, which demonstrates how we can cut carbon emissions faster by installing intelligent systems that use our growing energy resource efficiently.

“It also highlights that, working together with public and private sector partners, we can ensure our homes and buildings are climate-friendly and bring benefits to communities and local economies across the country.”

The electricity network is at the heart of Scotland’s work to reach Net Zero emissions by 2045, providing the critical infrastructure required to support the electrification of heat and transport and the much-needed increase in renewables. By 2030, Scotland is expected to see over a million homes convert to zero emissions heat systems such as heat pumps, creating a significant increase in demand on the electricity system.

To provide a picture of how best the decarbonisation of heat can be achieved across Scotland, the project is being trialled in three areas; East Ayrshire and East Dunbartonshire by SP Energy Networks and the Highlands by SSEN. This will be the first DNO-led large scale trial of electrified heat and will develop both technical and commercial solutions that can then be rolled-out across the country to make heat demand more flexible.

A total of 150 heat pumps, manufactured by Daikin, will be installed in domestic homes across the three local authority areas. These will be connected to thermal storage units developed by Sunamp, enabling customers to be flexible around their energy demand for heating. As part of the project, Bridge-of-Weir based SME, Derryherk, is also providing data analytical and geographical information system (GIS) services.

The £5 million project has been funded via a number of schemes including £1.26m from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and £1.2m from Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland. Delivery partner E.ON will work alongside the network operators, local authorities and industry partners such as Sunamp, an East Lothian based energy storage company, to explore how electricity networks can facilitate the large-scale electrification of heat and trial innovative solutions that will support the transition to a low carbon economy.

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said:

“Achieving Net Zero emissions by 2045 will only be possible if we begin to work on real solutions to support the decarbonisation of heat now. Our electricity networks are at the heart of the transition to a low carbon Scotland, but we need to ensure they are able to cope with the significant increase in demand we’re projecting as more and more low carbon heating solutions are connected into our network.

“This flagship project has the potential to be replicated across the country if it’s successful and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government, SSEN, local authorities and our industry partners to support this massive step-change in a way that will enable all our communities to work towards a Net Zero future.”

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, added:

“We have 7,500 heat pumps already installed on our network across the north of Scotland and anticipate this will increase to half a million by the middle of this century. Project Re-Heat will be vital to build our understanding of how we manage this cost effectively and ensure our network is ready.

“We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government and SP Energy Networks. Through this project, we look forward to tackling the challenges and identifying how to provide the critical infrastructure needed to support net zero.”

The Scottish Government, SP Energy Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks are part of a Heat Electrification Strategic Partnership together, which will focus on accelerating the decarbonisation of heating in Scotland.