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Report 6 October 2018

Renewable heat in Scotland, 2017

Location notice

Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in Scotland.


A new report has since been published in this series – please see the 2020 report for the most up to date information.

As a result, the figures in this publication are no longer applicable and should not be used. Historical reports remain available online to show changes to the methodology over the duration of the reporting series.

Much of the data used for the Renewable Heat in Scotland report is reviewed and updated on an annual basis, therefore improvements to the historical published figures will only be found in the latest report. These improvements may be due to access to new or improved datasets, changes to the methodology or corrections.


The Scottish Government has set a target for 11% of non-electrical heat demand in Scotland to be met from renewable sources by 2020.

In order to help measure progress towards this target Energy Saving Trust maintains a database of renewable heat installations (referred to as the Renewable Heat Database or dataset throughout this report) on behalf of the Scottish Government. The database records installations known to be operating and those currently in various stages of development. It contains data on the capacity and yearly heat output of those installations and is updated annually.

The database has now been updated with new information on heat generated from renewable sources during the 2017 calendar year.

As well as tracking progress towards the Scottish Government’s renewable heat target this report also provides commentary on accreditations under the domestic and non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes between December 2017 and August 2018, as an indicator of the growth in renewable heat into the next reporting year.

For any questions or comments relating to the Renewable Heat Database or accompanying analysis and report please contact

Summary of key findings

We estimate that:

  • 2.0 GW of renewable heat capacity was operational in Scotland by the end of 2017, up 17% (0.3 GW) from 2016, producing an estimated 4,800 GWh of actual heat from renewable sources, which is an increase of 28% (1,050 GWh) from 2016
  • this increase in renewable heat output appears particularly large due to a drop in output in 2016. The reduction in output seen in 2016, compared to 2015, was primarily due to changes at a small number of large sites. We have therefore also compared 2017 heat output with 2015 and this shows an increase from 2015 of 14% (600 GWh)
  • in 2017, Scotland generated an estimated 5.9 – 6.1% of its non-electrical heat demand from renewable sources, an increase from 4.7% in 2016

Last updated: 11 November 2021