Like it or not, heat pumps are here to stay.

There have been a lot of hot takes on the chosen way to heat buildings in the future, some of them more accurate than others, but one thing is for sure – Scotland will be pursuing them as a solution to one of the most difficult strategies facing our economy over the coming two decades.

Let’s get one thing straight – heat pumps will work perfectly fine in most Scottish homes, despite our pretty dismal weather over the winter.

The countries that have installed the most heat pumps in Europe are Finland, Norway and Sweden – renowned for being freezing, while the UK is lagging behind many other nations across the continent.

But what those countries also do much better than us is home insulation – something we are going to have to get used to paying for in the coming years.

For heat pumps to be as effective as we need them to be, our homes need to be properly insulated to reduce energy demand.

Another thing to be clear about is that there are still years for home-owners and businesses to install heat pumps or other heating systems that don’t burn fossil fuels.

Under the draft strategy, unveiled by zero carbon buildings minister, Patrick Harvie, this week, by 2028, private rented homes will need to meet the new EPC C standards which will take the heating system such as a boiler or a heat pump into account, while the same rules will apply for all domestic homes by 2033 – ahead of all buildings being on zero direct emissions heating systems by 2045.

But by April next year, newly-built properties will be banned from installing gas boilers – a clear ramping up of costs to developers, but also a possibility that new-build homes will cost more.

The initial strategy, now two years old, pointed to a backstop for non-domestic buildings to be upgraded between 2035 and 2045.

It’s not all doom and gloom for businesses.

There is a lot of money to be made as part of the green transition – and heating systems are no exception.

Read more: Can Scottish Government succeed with heat pump plans?

Council leaders in Glasgow and Edinburgh are adamant that those cities will be net zero in just seven years' time. It looks almost impossible and it might well be, but regardless, transforming heating systems in Scotland’s two largest cities will need to ramp up considerably in the next decade – that will need new heat pumps, people to upgrade home insulation and professionals to recycle old gas boilers.

It is a huge growing industry in Scotland and across the globe.

Unlike the renewables industry that saw Scotland miss out on a lot of the benefits from scaling up wind power, this one is more likely to see local businesses thrive – but the scepticism will need to go.

To the Scottish Government’s credit, it has been upfront from the very start that the bulk of the funding needed to revolutionise how we heat our homes will not come from the public sector, but from private businesses.

Fort context, those costs were estimated back in 2021, before prices soared, at £33 billion – it could be more now.

And ministers have pledged a sizeable £1.8 billion of public money to the ambition, but that is a drop in the ocean of what will be needed, quickly.

In April 2022, then-first minister Nicola Sturgeon told me that she had used a visit to the City of London to lobby industries about their willingness to fund Scotland’s green transition.

It is unclear what progress has been made.

The Scottish Government’s Green Heat Finance Taskforce, co-chaired by Mr Harvie, was set up in 2021 and has only now just published its first interim report of findings.

Worryingly, there is nothing concrete to grasp at.

The report contains some interesting ideas around green mortgages, potentially using taxation through rates and council tax to push people to make the changes needed.

But there obviously needs to be an incentive for businesses to invest in heat pumps and home insulation.

Read more: Explained: What Patrick Harvie's heat pumps strategy means for you

This is where the role of the UK Government becomes more apparent.

David Cameron, in his previous job, set back progress when in 2013 he called on officials to “cut the green crap” and stop incentives for a number of things, including home insulation.

That stupidly short-sighted move has added around £2.5 billion to UK energy bills and stunted progress on energy efficiency for a decade.

Earlier this year, Rishi Sunak, in a desperate example of politicking, rolled back heat in building requirements in England – which could have an impact on plans north of the Border.

Read more: No fines 'for foreseeable future' for not installing heat pumps

But the clearest message that the UK Government could send to business that heat pumps is a winner, would be to finally untangle the price of gas and electricity.

Gas is currently cheaper than electricity due to complex tax incentives, but this clearly has no place in a future economy where plugging things into renewable electricity supplies is a cheat code for going green.

The UK Government insists this is a long-term plan, but businesses need that certainty right now if they are going to invest.

The Scottish Government’s net zero and climate ambitions should be applauded, despite the lack of progress in meeting targets and bringing forward key strategies on time.

But if Scotland is to become net zero by 2045 and hit its ridiculously challenging 2030 target of cutting 75% of emissions, ministers need to get businesses on their side. It will need to be a team effort.

I was at the Cairngorm Brewery headquarters in Aviemore when Kate Forbes, then still Scotland’s finance secretary, launched her SNP leadership bid earlier this year with a scathing attack on the then-troubled and now doomed deposit return scheme, claiming it was set to cause “economic carnage”.

The Herald: Kate ForbesKate Forbes (Image: PA)

This overtly political move clearly did nothing to reassure businesses who already had legitimate concerns about the timescales and registration processes that were set to be rolled out.

Lots of key climate policies, at first glance, will spook different parts of Scotland’s business community.

The highly protected marine area plans have been shelved after the fisheries sector reacted with rage and there will be more to come.

What is clear is that without ministers helping businesses thrive in Scotland’s overhauled economy during the next two decades, the country and its key industries risk being left behind in the green revolution.