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District heating

Green buildings

Green heating in Scotland

28. March 2023

Solution provider

Danish Energy Agency

The Danish Energy Agency engages nationally and internationally in the production, supply and consumption of energy - with efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

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The United Kingdom is challenged by a heat supply that is primarily based on fossil fuels. With a climate target of net zero by 2050 they will have to increase the share of clean energy sources for their heating supply.

In Scotland, the challenge is even greater, as they are aiming for net zero already by 2045 and 75 per cent CO2 reduction by 2030, while currently having roughly 90 per cent of the country’s households heated by natural gas. By contrast, Denmark is internationally renowned for having one of the world’s greenest heat supplies including more than two thirds of households connected to district heating. Therefore, there has been a strong British and Scottish interest in bringing Danish experience into play in their development of policy and legislation for a green heat transition.

Green district heating

Danish advice and experience has had a major impact on new adopted Scottish Heat Networks Bill (February 2021), which will 20-fold the number of Scottish houses connected to district heating to 650,000 houses by 2030. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce raw material shortages and create new green jobs.

Read more about the partnership here


In both UK and Scotland, district heating has for years been seen as a key part of the solution to their transition to greener heating. However, implementation of measures supporting such a transition has been challenging and slow – with so far less than 2 per cent of households on district heating.

To push things along, legislation had to be developed and implemented. Through the Danish Embassy in the UK, the Danish Energy Agency was invited to inspire and support the Scottish process of developing their first regulatory framework for district heating; the so-called Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill. The Danish input was made available through ongoing dialogue with the Scottish policy makers, study tours, written material, workshops and participation in working groups.


In February 2021, the Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill was passed by a unanimous Scottish Parliament. As a testimony to the work and influence of the cooperation with Denmark, the Danish experiences and support were explicitly mentioned, cited and praised by several members of the Scottish Parliament including the responsible Minister, both during parliamentary process and in the closing remarks for the Bill.

The Bill will help reduce CO2-emissions and create green jobs by accelerating the deployment of district heating in Scotland. The Bill is expected to increase the number of Scottish houses connected to district heating twenty-fold to 650,000 houses by 2030.