Report: renewable heat on the rise in Scotland

By Anna Simet | October 13, 2015

Scotland is making quick progress on its goal of achieving 11 percent of its nonelectric heat demand to come from renewables by 2020, as the country increased its renewable heat capacity by 42 percent from 2013 to 2014.

That’s according to a new report by the Energy Saving Trust, which found that in 2014, Scotland generated an estimated 3.8 percent of its nonelectrical heat demand from renewable sources. The majority of both output and capacity in 2014—84 percent—came from biomass primary combustion and biomass combined heat and power (CHP).

Overall, the increase in capacity between 2013 and 2014 was 304 MW, a 42 percent increase. The majority of that increase was seen in the woody biomass technology category, which the report suggests reflects a continued interest in this technology in Scotland.

One trend noted by the authors, drawn from Renewable Heat Incentive statistics, was that domestic biomass accreditations increased dramatically over the past year—3,000 were accredited at the end of 2014, and by August 2015, that number had reached over 8,000.

Under both the domestic and nondomestic RHI schemes, approximately 20 percent of all accredited installations are in Scotland, a number that the report says is “significantly above the proportion of installations to be expected on a pro-rata basis when compared to the size of the population in Scotland as a portion of Great Britain as a whole.”

The report notes that energy from waste continues to grow in deployment in Scotland, with on-site anaerobic digestion and other advanced conversion technologies such as gasification or pyrolysis being used by some of Scotland’s largest food and drinks manufacturers as a way of making efficient use of waste created on site. Energy from waste, including advanced conversion technologies as well as incineration, now accounts for 4 percent of Scotland’s renewable heat capacity and 6 percent of renewable heat output, according to the report.