The Scottish government plans to reduce emissions from housing by 68% within 10 years using a range of measures outlined in its ‘Heat and Buildings Strategy’.
Central to the plan is upgrading the energy efficiency of properties by installing zero emissions heating, signalling a switch away from carbon-based fuels like gas boilers.
Some £1.8bn of funding has been pledged to be spent on accelerating energy efficiency upgrades, installing renewable heating and creating jobs within the next five years. Of this amount, £200m will be spent on decarbonising social housing.
The government added that this funding will be used to support the vulnerable, who could be hit financially by ‘fuel poverty’ due to the switch away from carbon-based fuels.
There will be a Green Heat Finance Task Force to identify ways of getting investment from the private sector. Indeed, the government said between £2bn and £2.5bn of investment will be required by the end of the decade.
There was a commitment to phasing out the installation of new gas boilers by 2030, and by 2025 in off gas properties.
Around two million properties in Scotland primarily use mains gas, just over 260,000 have access to electric heating and 170,000 using high emission fuels including heating oil, LPG or coal.
A National Public Energy Agency will be formed to co-ordinate this decarbonisation strategy, while it will become a dedicated body by September 2025.
The government pledged to improve the monitoring and evaluation process so it has the necessary data to ensure that progress is being made.
It said mandatory legal standards for zero emissions will give homeowners and landlords certainty on where they stand.
Patrick Harvie, minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, said: “There are no silver bullets or easy solutions to the heat in buildings challenge.
“We must use all the tools available to increase awareness, secure delivery and provide the certainty that individuals and the sector need to take action.”
He called for a stronger green energy commitment from the UK government.
Harvie added: “This Strategy sets out the significant actions we are taking, but we do not have all the powers necessary to deliver the transformational change required.
“The delayed UK Heat and Buildings Strategy must set out how the UK will use its regulatory and policy levers to incentivise rapid deployment of zero emissions heat technologies.
“We urgently need a stronger commitment and clear action plan on heat from the UK government.
“Recent volatility in global natural gas markets further underscores the urgency of UK government action in reserved policy areas to maintain security of energy supplies and to support consumers.”