The company behind a £300 million wind farm off the Aberdeen coast has pledged to invest in innovative district heating systems which could lead to domestic boilers being stripped out of Scottish homes. Vattenfall, a power company owned by the Swedish state, indicated that it intended to spend heavily in Scotland as part of the transition to a lower carbon economy. While that will involve building more generating capacity such as wind farms, the group is looking further ahead. It plans to invest in electric vehicles, district heating, battery storage and other methods of power distribution. The process is at an early stage but district heating could mean a huge change for how energy is consumed in this country. Heat is generated from a central location in a district system, which can use multiple energy sources such as renewables and bio mass. That is usually far more efficient than having heat produced in lots of smaller places such as domestic boilers. There are estimated to be more than 1,000 community heating schemes in Scotland which operate like district systems but on a smaller scale, ranging from one block of flats up to a few hundred homes. One of the biggest planned developments is for the Halo regeneration site in Kilmarnock, with the housing, leisure and industrial activities expected to be heated by what will be the country’s first deep geothermal district heating network. Scotland’s energy strategy, published in December last year, included a commitment to developing district heating. It expects more than 10 per cent of all heating demand will be met through district schemes by 2050 but some in the energy industry believe the total could be much higher. However, large capital investment will be needed to build central heat generation plants and the networks of pipes required. Domestic boilers would potentially have to be removed from houses and different heating controls installed for consumers.
Times 8th Sept 2018 read more »