Vattenfall launches ambitious plan to decarbonise heating in Edinburgh and Glasgow

  • Ambitious plans unveiled to connect 620,0001 homes to heat networks in Glasgow and Edinburgh by 2050.
  • Vattenfall will collaborate with organisations that share their vision for a fossil free future, including Scottish Government, local authorities and energy from waste specialists Viridor.
  • Swedish energy and heat provider brings European expertise, already delivering heat to 1.9 million customers on networks in Berlin, Uppsala and Amsterdam.

One of Europe’s leading energy and heat suppliers, Vattenfall, has launched their ambitious plan to decarbonise urban buildings in Edinburgh and Glasgow at an exciting event in Glasgow. Vattenfall plans to work with their partner Midlothian Council and local authorities in both cities, along with generators of heat, to then distribute clean heat to domestic and commercial customers in both cities.

Vattenfall’s launch follows the Scottish Government’s announcement of the £300 million Heat Networks Fund and today’s announcement of the Heat Network Action Plan (HNAP). These announcements show just how crucial large-scale plans for district heating are to cities like Glasgow.

In Glasgow, the City Council has already set out plans to grow the number and scale of heat networks that currently exist. District heating is the obvious and best way to decarbonise heat in urban environments and can work with a variety of heat sources. Vattenfall plans to build the heat network in phases, working multi-laterally through collaborations with heat suppliers and customers, connecting existing and new homes and businesses to low and zero-carbon heat sources.

Vattenfall already has a collaboration agreement in place with energy from waste specialists Viridor, and the possibility of harnessing heat from Viridor’s Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) is being explored. The Glasgow network aims to serve the equivalent of 450,0002 homes by 2050.

By 2050, the networks could connect to many thousands of customers in the City Centre, as well as the wider Greater Glasgow region including, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.

Vattenfall has entered a Joint Venture with Midlothian Council to deliver low-carbon energy projects across the Midlothian Council area. The first project will be a low-carbon district heating network supplying heat from FCC Environment’s Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre to the new Shawfair Town in the north of the council area, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The expansion of an Edinburgh network aims to serve the equivalent of 170,0003 homes by 2050. The Shawfair development will benefit from up to £7.3m from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project (LCITP), which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Vattenfall brings 130 years of heat network experience to the UK. The installation of heat networks at the scale of the ambitions in Glasgow and Edinburgh has been seen over a 25-year timescale in Amsterdam.

While the UK Government has a goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050, Scotland’s targets are even more ambitious, with the aim of reaching net zero emissions by 20454. At present, 86%5 of Scottish households rely on fossil fuels to keep warm, highlighting the scale of the heat transition.

Vattenfall’s modelling suggests the heat networks in Glasgow and Edinburgh could reduce emissions by up to 90%6 in comparison to individual gas boilers fitted in every home. Over a 20-year period, a heat network serving the equivalent of 620,000 homes could save 900,0007 tonnes of CO2 emissions when compared to a current gas boiler solution, the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road. To build these heat networks will mean an investment of up to £2 billion8 and the creation of up to 9009 jobs through direct employment and the wider supply chain between now and 2050.